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Readers love Rhinos, frustrated with Metros.

(Sunday, August 15, 1999) -- Fans of Major League Soccer’s MetroStars have been pushed to the limit after the New York\New Jersey metropolitan area club has compiled the worst record in the league’s four-year history. In upstate New York, the Rochester fans are ragin’ over the Rhinos.

How cam MetroStars improve?

I enjoyed Jerry Langdon’s latest article. I'd like to respond to one thing, though: You contend that turning matters around in New York\New Jersey must become priority number one for new MLS Commissioner Don Garber. There's just one huge stumbling block there, though: Stuart Subotnik.

Seeing as how Subotnik is both (MetroStars’ general manager) Charlie Stillitano andorOf course, Subotnik knows full well that Charlie willingly gave away top guns like Welton, Diaz Arce, Savarese, Sonora et. al., yet he actually has the gall to make remarks like that in public! As the MetroStars' investor/operator, it is up to Subotnik to make changes where & when necessary to improve matters at the club, and as he has recently stated that he has no intention of cleaning house within the MetroStars organization anytime soon, I rather doubt that matters will be improving for quite some time. And worse still, this same man is the MLS Chairman of The Board! This being the case, I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for Mr. Garber's much-touted experience and talents to produce much in the way of results, either!

Richard Snowden

To whom it may concern at MetroStars Management:

It's unfortunate what's happening to club, management and fans of soccer in New York Metropolitan area. The fans are very supportive, but its hard to support a team with no fire and no leadership on the field and no vision and direction with management.

As a soccer fan in New York area and League, We have suffered enough with this team called MetroStars. I thinks what's needed for this club is a radical plan with new vision and new direction.

Theses are the things I think are needed to have a brand new start with this club:

1) Burn the Uniform -- What I really mean is to change the concept of the uniform (keep the color) but change the design or concept of the uniform. In New York, we are in the capital of the fashion industry. Why doesn't management get a fashion expert to redesign the uniform.

2) Change the Name -- The club has an identity problem trying to define what state they represent. What state are you! Are you New York or New Jersey! Then call yourself the proper name, which reflects the state you are trying to entice. What's a MetroStar! Please shorten the name of the team or get a new one. New York Metros or New Jersey Stars.

3) New York City players -- I found it very ironic a Metropolitan area of close to 12 million people and vibrant with local soccer fever all over the city (especially in local parks), the only local player we could find are Billy Walsh and Tab Ramos. I think the effort from management to find local products is not consistent or not there at all. Please Management, don't insult us. Get your scouts out there to search for Local products in the parks and schools.

4) Coach -- The most important radical change that has to happen to the club in order to change things around. It’s very obvious to everybody that coach (Bora) Milutinovic is not able to change what has happened to the club this year and last year. I think we should cut our losses and let Bora go. The next coach we’re going to select hopefully will be one that has vision, leadership and a since of direction.

Here's the type a coach we need:

1) An American Coach -- We have tried foreign coaches and it hasn't work. Plus, They don't relate to the media and to American way of life.

2) Experienced Coach with the Media -- We are in one of the biggest media centers in America. We need a coach that is not afraid to talk to the media, sell the game to the media and has experience with a large media. Also, it's not necessary but we need an American coach fluent in Spanish.

3) Disciplinarian and motivator -- The team looks very undisciplined when they play with each other and they look like their no fire. It doesn't seem like they competing and working hard enough. It looks like they quit and accept losing. We need a coach to change their mentality, change their motivation and sit a player down that is not playing disciplined soccer.

In my opinion, unless they're a coach in college I don't know anything about, the only coach the meets all three criteria is Steve Sampson. He's American, speaks Spanish, been to the World Cup stage and knows how to handle the media and sell the game, a disciplinarian who knows how to motivate. He's maybe the only one apart from Bruce Arena, that could give the MetroStars a new vision and a sense of new direction.

Unless these things take place during the off seasons, I don't see anything changing the Atmosphere for Soccer Fans in New York. It will be another suffering season with disappointing crowds.

Stephane Banatte

Rochester Rhinos are Ragin’

Thanks for highlighting the Rochester Rhino's upset over Dallas. Jason Kreis' complaint (about field conditions) falls on deaf ears, here.

By definition Rochester's best player should be worse than Dallas's worst bench sub. It shouldn't matter which field they play on. I am glad to see that the MLS players are taking this seriously and feeling embarrassed enough to make frustrated statements like that. Beating a Chicago team weakened by missing national team players could be considered a fluke. But two MLS teams in a row does wonders for disproving that theory.

I still don't think Rochester can support an MLS team. If they make it to MLS they will be like any other small market team in any other pro league. Finance wasn't my strong point at Business School, but the numbers just don't seem to make sense in Rochester. I believe they average around 10,000 per game. If I recall correctly, that was the break-even number for MLS's first year. MLS wildly surpassed that and still lost $20 million. The Rochester community is not booming economically like the rest of the country. Kodak, which dominates the work force continues to layoff. Their unemployment rate has consistently trailed the national average.

I understand that the Rhino's management is pushing for the MLS move. I am surprised to see you champion their efforts however. Overall, wouldn't it be better for them to be a successful minor league team than a struggling MLS team? Is there any way that could be a successful MLS team (economically, not soccer standings)?

Regarding the Tampa Bay-Colorado MLS\U.S. Open Cup game -- you imply that in the newly-acquired talent in Tampa Bay, under normal U.S. Open cup rules, would not be allowed to play. What exactly are the regulations involved? Why wouldn't they be allowed to play? Do the European leagues have similar rules? (I remember now that Claudio Reyna wasn't allowed to play in the Scottish Cup final.) Is there a date after which he was not allowed or was it simply that he was not on the opening game roster?)

Kevin Heald

Thanks for keeping the Rochester Rhinos in the news. That team and the support they get from the crowd is tremendous, certainly deserving of mention. I just moved from Rochester to Dallas, and I've been amazed at how little coverage the Burn gets here. There was only a one paragraph mention of the U.S. Open Cup game in the Dallas Morning News. Makes me wonder which city is truly "major league."

Matthew Roth

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