Ten Best: Metro vs Florida
Villegas vs Tampa Bay, 2000
November 20, 2013
So, MLS is back in Florida, with Orlando getting the league's 21st franchise. Or should we say 23rd... for who can forget Tampa Bay and Miami? So, in honor of the return to the sunshine state, let's review Metro's ten best games versus MLS's Florida teams.
10) July 25, 2000: MetroStars 3, Tampa Bay 0
Why is this shellacking only 10th on our list? Sadly, the Open Cup victory came with a heavy cost: Daniel Hernandez was lost for the season after getting injured during the game. Metro goals came from Mark Chung, Clint Mathis, and Alex Comas.
9) May 23, 1998: MetroStars 4, Miami 2
The first ever meeting between the two teams was not as close as the final score. In front of a supposed crowd of 56,000 (there to see Colombia play Scotland), Metro completely dominated. Eduardo Hurtado scored early, Paul Dougherty got his first Metro goal, and Jim Rooney added two.
8) June 7, 1998: Miami 1, MetroStars 2
The first time Metro visited Miami, the two teams exchanged goals on either side of halftime, Metro's tally coming from Giovanni Savarese. With two minutes left in the game, Miles Joseph received a pass from Hurtado and slipped it past the Miami keeper for a Metro victory.
7) July 22, 2000: MetroStars 4, Miami 2
Metro came into the match having won four in a row, and came out with its fifth straight. Comas opened the scoring, Adolfo Valencia doubled the led on a penalty kick, and then Valencia fed Comas to make the rest a formality. Comas scored his second before Miami made it a closer scoreline late.
6) July 22, 1998: Tampa Bay 0, MetroStars 4
Why is this shellacking only 6th on our list? Because no one has ever seen this Open Cup game, which was played in, of all places, Nashville. Metro got goals from Savarese (two), Rooney, and Mike Sorber, advancing to the semifinals.
5) July 4, 2001: Tampa Bay 1, MetroStars 2
The Butler did it! Tampa had the lead, but Metro tied it late after Billy Walsh redirected a Hernandez free kick. Then, in overtime, Michael Butler, a call-up from minor league Long Island, scored his one and only Metro goal... in his one and only Metro game.
4) July 7, 2001: Miami 0, MetroStars 3
Miami tore through MLS's regular season in 2001, but they lost all three games to Metro. This match proved to be a laugher, as Metro dominated. Petter Villegas rounded the keeper to open the scoring, and Valencia added two to complete the rout.
3) August 25, 2001: Miami 2, MetroStars 3
The last ever game between the two teams was pretty memorable. Miami scored minutes in, but Rodrigo Faria tied it early in the second. With 12 minutes left, Miami went ahead again. But in the 84th, Villegas hit a knuckler that trickled through and tied the game. Then, as injury time was about to start, Hernandez hit a 30-yard free kick into the for a dramatic victory.
3) May 20, 2000: MetroStars 3, Tampa Bay 2
Talk about dramatic victories... In Mathis' first game with Metro, Tampa Bay jumped out to a first-half two-goal lead, with Mamadou Diallo scoring both. But Adolfo Valencia answered twice in the second half, the second in the 88th minute. Then, Petter Villegas connected on a blast in overtime to pull out the comeback win.
1) May 4, 1996: MetroStars 3, Tampa Bay 3 (2:1 SO)
Of course. Tampa Bay scored three goals early in the second half to seemingly doom Metro. But in Roberto Donadoni's first match, the Metros respond with three goals in three minutes; first, a Cle Kooiman own goal off a Tab Ramos free kick, then two by Savarese, the second on a gorgeous bicycle kick to tie the game in regulation. Ramos would then score the game-winner in the shootout.