Mathis, Mathis, Mathis, Mathis, Mathis!
August 26, 2000 (Official Game Summary)
In a record-setting night, the MetroStars clinched the Eastern Division in grand fashion as Clint Mathis scored an MLS-record five goals in leading the Metros to a 6-4 victory over the Dallas Burn at the Cotton Bowl on Saturday night. With the win, the MetroStars clinch their first Eastern Division title and thus secure a playoff spot for the third time in team history. The Metros now have an MLS-best 51 points overall.
Mathis kicked off the scoring in the third minute. Midfielder Roy Myers sent a pass to Alex Comas at the top of the box. With his back to goal, the Colombian forward sent a surprise heel pass into the left side of the box to Mathis who beat Dallas goalkeeper Matt Jordan from 10 yards out with a left-footed strike to the lower right corner.
The Metros took a 2-0 lead in the 26th minute when midfielder Petter Villegas launched Comas on a break down the right flank. Comas made a 40-yard run into the box and his shot was saved by Jordan, but an onrushing Mathis had an easy tap in on the rebound.
The Burn took only thirty seconds to get one back and make it 2-1. Dallas midfielder Oscar Pareja sent a slicing cross into the box from the right side. Forward Ariel Graziani met the ball with a chest trap that split two defenders and the Ecuadorian international easily lifted a shot into the roof of the net with only Metros goalkeeper Tim Howard to beat.
Mathis would restore the visitors' two-goal lead with another strike in the 40th minute. Comas registered his third assist with a brilliant pass on a crisscross pattern with Mathis who was cutting to the right of the box. The Conyers, Georgia native would rifle a powerful right-footed shot inside the right post, making the score 3-1.
The Burn, however, would again reduce the margin by a goal when defender Jorge Rodriguez beat the Metros' offside trap and was served in open space on the right side of the box. The Salvadoran international easily slotted the ball past Howard to make the score 3-2 at the break.
Burn rookie Antonio Martinez would enter the game in the 53rd minute and have a hand in two goals to lead Dallas to its only lead of the game at 4-3. One minute after coming on the field, Martinez sent a cross into the box from the left side which Jason Kreis directed back to Pareja. The Colombian midfielder blasted a 15-yard shot into the back of the net to tie the game. Martinez would then score himself in the 65th minute from the left side of the box after receiving a perfect service from Rodriguez.
That Burn lead would last only two minutes as Mathis got his fourth goal of the night when he fired a 15-yard shot off a poor goal line clearance by the Dallas defense, thus tying the game at 4-4.
After Rodriguez was sent off for a tackle on Tab Ramos in the 78th minute, Mathis would score his record-setting and game-winning fifth goal on a penalty kick only five minutes later.
Second-half substitute Adolfo Valencia added the MetroStars' sixth insurance goal with two minutes left in the match when he made a 40-yard dash on goal, shot on Jordan and gathered the rebound for an easy tap in. With the goal, Valencia broke the all-time MetroStars season mark for goals with his 15th of the season. (Three of Mathis' 16 goals came in a Los Angeles Galaxy uniform in the beginning of the season.)
With his performance, Mathis (16 goals and 14 assists, good for second in the MLS scoring charts) set the MLS all-time record for goals in a game (5) and points in a game (10). D.C. United forward Raul Diaz Arce previously scored four times in a match on July 7, 1996 and April 12, 1997.
Lineup: Howard, Jolley, Dooley, Petke, Walsh, Ramos, Chung, Villegas, Myers, Mathis, Comas. Subs: Corrales, Valencia, Semioli.