For years I have viewed Eddie Gaven as one of the most talented and potentially successful young players in US Youth National Team setup. Gaven appeared to be the perfect midfield compliment for the budding world superstar Freddy Adu. But something happened along the way to stardom for Gaven. It was called the Metrostars.
Like so many other players, young and old and coaches famous and not so famous the Metrostars were like a bottomless pit. Gaven didn’t simply not develop like other American youngsters: he regressed. Enter Sigi Schmid and the Crew filled with young players and with a manager who arguably is the best at player development in this corner of the globe.
Now Gaven is not only an MLS star helping to lead the Crew to the MLS Cup: he’s a viable midfield option for the US National Team going forward. The Crew has dominated this season and earned its trip to the MLS Cup. But the peculiar playoff systemof MLS has proven itself to once again give us a final particpant that is honestly unworthy: like in 2005 when a pitiful LA Galaxy team reached the final and claimed MLS Cup. The current Metrostars team (rebranded the Red Bulls) has reached the final and can claim the first MLS Cup for the franchise that has long been the laughingstock of North American football. But they have to get through Eddie Gaven and the worthy Crew first. New York is here because of the Crew: firstly the Crew played its reserves in the next to last regular season game with Red Bull won and then the Crew reverted to play their starters in the last regular season game which eliminated DC United and allowed New York to back into the playoffs.
Juan Carlos Osorio is a tactical genius at least by MLS standards. He very well could develop a game plan to minimize Gaven’s influence on Sunday’s final. But count me among those hoping Gaven has a big day and settles a score with New York.