Mathis vs Kansas City
Eight days in 2001
April 28, 2011

Today, April 28, is the ten-year anniversary of one of the greatest days in Metro history. What's more, that day kicked off an eight-day span that saw three glorious Metro victories, one more special than the other.

Because of a scheduling quirk, Metro was to play six straight home games early in 2001. It did not start well, as Mamadou Diallo's thuggery reared its ugly head once again, as he slapped Steve Jolley on the way to Tampa beating the Metros 3:1, dropping the home team to 1-1-1 on the year.

But then, April 28 came, with Metro playing Dallas. Petter Villegas and Mark Chung made it 2:0 at the break, but it was what came after that became the stuff of legends. Starting on his own side of the field, Clint Mathis rampaged through the entire Dallas team, turning defender after defender, and scored an amazingly beautiful goal. It drew comparisons to Diego Maradona and would go on to be MLS's Goal of the Year. The game ended 3:2 as Dallas scored late to make Metro sweat... a tad.

Four days later, on May 2, a midweek match saw Metro line up against Kansas City. Ex-Metro Kerry Zavagnin opened the scoring early, but then it was Mathis time. His first goal came on a direct free kick, bending it around the wall. His second, off a pass from Tab Ramos. His third, another one from Ramos, a header in the second half. Adolfo Valencia would round out the scoring for the 4:1 scoreline. Mathis' hat-trick came with his left foot, his right foot, and his head. A young reporter named Grant Wahl asked the ESC if there was a Mathis chant, and "Show us your Clint" was born... Yes, on that night the sky was the limit, for Mathis and for Metro.

It didn't start that way on May 5. Arch-rival DC Scum came in to the Meadowlands, and had a 2:0 lead late after two Jaime Moreno goals, one on a penalty after a hand ball by Jolley. Former Metro Mike Ammann playfully teased the supporters after DC goals. In fact, Metro didn't play well at all... but that was all about to change. In the 79th minute, a Ramos free kick resulted in a scramble in the box, with Mathis pouncing on it to make it 2:1. In the 88th, rookie Rodrigo Faria scored his first professional goal, blasting it off the goalpost. And then, in the 90th, Villegas took the ball down the right side, and after Alex Comas failed to control it, gave it back and slotted it past Ammann to complete the amazing comeback. The miracle at East Rutherford. Three goals in eleven minutes. Three victories in eight days. Pandemonium.

And... everything seemed possible. In fact, Metro would go on to finish the homestand with two more victories, 2:0 over Los Angeles and 1:0 over Colorado. Sadly, it all came crashing down a month later, as Mathis tore his ACL, and with it, any chance the MetroStars had. Oh well.

At least we'll always have the memories...

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