Interview with Dan Ryazansky of MetroFanatic website
MetroFanatic is a site that wants to preserve the memory and the history of MetroStars, MLS soccer franchise in New York City and New Jersey, since 2006 New York Red Bulls. We interviewed Dan Ryazansky who takes care of the site, about the past of MetroStars and the present of Red Bulls.
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Let’s talk about MetroFanatic. How was it born? How many people take care of it? How many people follow him?
The site was created in 2001. The staff is small, but we do have a consistent stream of visitors. We don’t track the numbers, because for us, it’s not about the volume, but the love of the team.
How does MetroFanatic preserve the memory and history of New York New Jersey MetroStars?
We have recaps and pictures of every game since 2000, complete player profiles of everyone who’s ever played for the team, the only place with statistics from every competition, including open cup and international play… We write numerous historical features that bring back the days of Metro past, and try to put current successes and failures in a historical perspective.
In 2006 Red Bull bought Metrostars. What were your feelings?
I was crestfallen. Red Bull’s take over in Salzburg wiped out the team history. Fortunately, it did not happen here. Unfortunately, they changed the name to a corporate brand.
What are your current relations with the company? What has changed compared to Metrostars?
I love the team the same now as I did before the Red Bull purchase. There are too many changes to mention, and it took Red Bull a very long time to figure out the right formula. As we stand, the big positive changes are their own stadium, investment in youth, and stability on the field. The big negative change is the team acting as an advertisement for an energy drink.
What is your relationship with the stadium? Do you attend Red Bull Arena?
The stadium is wonderful, and has greatly improved the in-game experience from old Giants Stadium. Yes, I attend, but not every week.
Your franchise is the least successful among the MLS founding teams. It has never won MLS Cup and U. S. Open Cup. How do you live this condition?
That is simply not true. Clearly, the least successful founding team is Tampa Bay, which no longer exists. Also, I would say that RBNY’s three Supporters’ Shields put us above New England (1 Open Cup), Colorado (1 MLS Cup), and Dallas (2 Open Cups, 1 Shield). The team has also been the most successful regular season team since 2010, and has made the playoffs more often than any team in MLS history.
NYCFC claims to be the only soccer team in New York City. What are your relations with the NYCFC fans, your rivals / cousins?
I would not call them “cousins”. Many of these fans seem pathetic to me: they rejected Metro/RBNY for 19 years, thinking MLS was beneath them, or claiming that a team playing in New Jersey cannot be a New York team (and yet, look at the NFL’s “New York” Giants and “New York” Jets). I still consider DC United, whom we’ve “hated” for 23 years, our main rival.
What do you think of this season. It marked the record of points in regular season. Are you proud of your team?
This team has been amazing. The regular season was arguably the best in MLS history. That being said, they need to win MLS Cup to be listed among the all-time greats.
Giovanni Savarese is one of the greatest players of Metrostars. He could be your challenger at the MLS Cup. What do you think about this eventuality?
The other western coach, Peter Vermes, was Metro’s first captain, so either way, if we make MLS Cup, we will be facing someone with Metro ties. I prefer not to think about the ramifications until we make MLS Cup.
What were the greatest players and coaches of MetroStars?
Clint Mathis, who took MLS by storm in 2000, and scored five goals in one game, among many other feats. Tim Howard, who started with Metro at the age of 18 and rose to be one of the best goalkeepers in the world. Mike Petke, who started as a rookie here and then coached the team to its first Supporters’ Shield in 2013. Amado Guevara, who was the only Metro to be named MLS MVP.
What memories do you have of Roberto Donadoni and Nicola Caricola?
Donadoni was an amazing player, a gentleman on and off the field, who raised the level of play every time. Unfortunately, he was not the right player to build around, as during his entire career, he played a complimentary role, and was never a focal point, like was asked to do here. Caricola scored the most famous own goal in MLS history. He actually was a very solid defender, but the stench of that own goal was very hard to erase.
Which are the best supporters in MLS?
Those who have suffered for 23 years without MLS Cup.