Courageous Ammann keeps Metro alive
September 30, 2000 (Official Game Summary)
The MetroStars upended the visiting Chicago Fire 2-0 at Giants Stadium Saturday night, forcing a Game Three to decide the winner of this MLS Cup Playoff semifinal series. Goalkeeper Mike Ammann, making a dramatic return to the MetroStars goal after suffering broken ribs and a punctured lung in August, turned away three Fire shots to preserve his shutout.
MetroStars midfielder Mark Chung scored the game-winning goal in the 40th minute of play, hammering a loose ball past 'keeper Zach Thornton from the top of the penalty area. Chung received a cross at the top of the box from forward Alex Comas and launched a hard shot towards goal. Teammate Adolfo Valencia inadvertently crossed in front of the shot, however, sending the ball back to Chung. Chung teed the ball up a second time, beating Thornton for the decisive tally.
Neither side was able to generate a consistent attack in the opening 45 minutes, as frequent fouls and tight man-marking disrupted the flow of the offense. The MetroStars were able to test Thornton a handful of times, however, before Chung was able to put the Metros up 1-0.
Chung had the best chance for the MetroStars in the 23rd minute, coming in from the flank to hammer a 63 mile-per-hour shot to the inside of the far post. Thornton dove out to deflect the shot, allowing A-League call-up defender Tenwya Bonseu to safely clear the ball away. Lothar Matthaus also forced a diving save from Thornton in the 31st minute, sending in a dangerous curling ball from the edge of the penalty area.
The game opened up in the second half, allowing the hungry Chicago attackers the freedom to test Ammann. Ante Razov took a quick stab at the ball in the 77th minute, forcing Ammann to stretch out to turn the ball away. Moments later Hristo Stoitchkov's right-footed shot resulted in an acrobatic stop that belied Ammann's long layoff.
Valencia put the game out of reach in the 84th minute, burying the insurance goal and forcing a Game Three. Valencia began the rush by passing forward to Clint Mathis, who was assuming the role of injured playmaker Tab Ramos. As Mathis attempted to break into the area, Valencia knifed in unmarked. Mathis threaded the ball to the streaking Colombian, who beat Thornton to the far post to make the final score 2-0.
Lineup: Ammann, Jolley, Matthaus, Petke, Chung, Walsh, Villegas, Mathis, Myers, Comas, Valencia. Subs: Semioli, Shak.