There's no doubt that John Wolyniec has been a major factor in the MetroStars' strong play in the 2004 campaign. His work ethic and quality play have made him a fixture in the Metros lineup. He is the only member of the team to have played in all 25 games so far this season.
MetroStars.com recently caught up with John to get his thoughts on the rest of the season, his newfound leadership role and his individual play.
MetroStars.com: Prior to Saturday's 3-2 victory over the New England Revolution, the team was riding a four-game winless streak. How did it feel to get that victory and snap that streak?
John Wolyniec: It was definitely a great win for us, especially because we were down by two goals. To come back and get the win at home was really big. Any time you can get three points from a team that is behind you in the division is big.
MetroStars.com: You have a huge match coming up this weekend against the Columbus Crew. Not only can the team climb back into first place, but also can clinch a playoff spot. What are your thoughts going into this match?
JW: Obviously clinching a playoff spot is important. The earliest we can do that the better. You don't always get opportunities like that. Hopefully, we can do that Saturday, then focus on winning the division after that.
MetroStars.com: The team gets back its points leader, Amado Guevara, this weekend after a two-game absence. How important is it for the team to have him back?
JW: It's definitely big. We still put our best effort out there when he's not around. But he's an important leader for us; he's everything for us. To have him back this weekend is really big for us and we have to build off the momentum we have with the win against New England, it's huge to have one of your leaders come back.
MetroStars.com: You were a member of last year's squad, which had a great season but fell short in the first round of the playoffs. What's the difference between this year's team compared to last year's squad?
JW: I think this year we are a little bit more of a tight knit group. I think there's a lot of energy in this locker room. We've got a lot of confidence and we're a different team in terms of the way we play and we know that with the players on the field we can put together good soccer against whatever team we play. So it bodes well for us in the postseason.
MetroStars.com: This year's team is the youngest in the league. Being one of the older players, how do you motivate and lead them?
JW: It's easy because all these guys that come in love to play. Despite the fact that they are young, they still are enthusiastic and fun to be around. When it's fun like that all the time, it's a lot easier to keep motivating them.
MetroStars.com: You have played in all 25 of the MetroStars games this year. How do you feel about your individual play so far this season?
JW: I feel like I've been more consistent this year, a little more consistent than last year. It's probably the biggest difference for me. I'm still looking to take the next step to really improve my game. I'm satisfied with my play, but hopefully I can take it a little further.
MetroStars.com: As an older, more experienced player, have you taken on the role of leader in the MetroStars locker room?
JW: I think I have; we have a couple of really good leaders on this team like Eddie Pope, Amado Guevara and Jonny Walker. But there's a little bit of a gap there. I think I've tried to play the role of filling the gap between the younger and older guys. It's been a bit of a change for me stepping up because I am one of the older guys on the team.
MetroStars.com: How do you relax in your time away from soccer?
JW: I do a bunch of different things. I listen to music, play a little bit of the guitar, watch movies and stuff like that.