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MetroStars second-half surge buries Rapids 5-3.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (Sunday, August 20, 2000) -- The MetroStars erupted for three goals in a six-minute span early in the second half, sparking a 5-3 drubbing of the Colorado Rapids this afternoon before 27,897 at Giants Stadium.

Clint Mathis had a pair of goals as the Metros posted a season-high for goals. "We came out here and made a statement today, to show the rest of the league that we are serious about winning the championship," Mathis said. "We have Mike (Ammann) in our hearts, but still have a job to do."

Mathis referred to injured MetroStars goalkeeper Mike Ammann, who suffered ribs, lung and face injuries in Wednesday's loss to Tampa Bay. Ammann remains in a Tampa Bay area hospital, but is expected to fly back to New Jersey on Monday.

With the score tied 1-1, the MetroStars (15-10-2, 47 points) stormed out of the gate in the second half.

Mathis created the go-ahead goal when he was pulled down by Keyeno Thomas in the box for a penalty kick which Alex Comas buried for his ninth goal and a 2-1 advantage in the 51st minute. He rolled his attempt to the right but Rapids goalkeeper David Kramer, who guessed right, could not get a piece of the shot.

Mark Chung ran onto a long Petter Villegas pass and ripped his third goal under a diving Kramer from the left wing two minutes later to make it 3-1.

Mathis' second goal of the game came in the 57th minute when he finished off a Tab Ramos free kick from deep in the right corner. Mathis broke free from David Vaudreuil to head home his 11th goal to put the Metros up 4-1.

"The beginning of the second half just showed a lack of leadership, concentration, and responsibility," said Colorado coach Glenn Myernick. "Every player has an assignment and is supposed to know what to do, but that obviously did not happen. I'd have a hard time pulling too many positives from that game, if I did, I'd be lowering the standards that we set for our team. That was a playoff game for us right there."

Defender Mike Petke gave the MetroStars a 5-1 lead in the 66th minute, poking in a loose ball after a Metros corner kick. Chung played the ball into the box and defender Steve Jolley kept the play alive for Petke to net his second goal of the year.

MetroStars backup goalkeeper Russell Payne, called up from the Boston Bulldogs of the A-League after starter Ammann was seriously injured on Wednesday, saw his first action in the final eight minutes of the game, replacing Tim Howard. Payne tripped Wes Hart inside the top of the box in the 86th minute and Rapids midfielder Ross Paule scored on the ensuing penalty kick to narrow Colorado’s deficit to 5-2.

The Rapids (11-14-3, 36 points) pulled another goal back in the 89th minute. Paule sent a corner kick to the top of the box where Marcelo Balboa headed the ball down toward the six-yard box. Jorge Dely Valdes beat the offside trap and volleyed a quick shot past Payne to make it 5-3 for his sixth goal of the season.

Mathis had the first goal of the afternoon, breaking through in the 19th minute. Chung pounced on a loose ball in the Rapids' end and played a sharp cross to Mathis on the right wing just outside the box. The striker took one touch, then rifled a low shot past Colorado keeper David Kramer to make it 1-0. The goal was Mathis' first since July 8. The striker went a span of six games without a goal, but did record five assists during that time.

"Everyone expected him to go at his initial scoring rate when he first came over, but players go through different spells during the season," MetroStars coach Octavio Zambrano said. "Today was a very good day for Mathis."

The Rapids equalized just before halftime. Midfielder Jason Moore drove a cross into the box from deep on the left wing. Dely Valdes outmuscled a pair of MetroStars defenders to head home his fifth goal of the season from eight yards out in the 43rd minute. Dely Valdes had not scored an MLS goal since May 5.

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