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Mathis nets late winner, MetroStars continue to rise, 1-0 over Wizards.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Saturday, July 8, 2000) -- Goalkeeper Tim Howard kept the MetroStars in the game before striker Clint Mathis netted the game-winner with three minutes remaining in a 1-0 victory over the Kansas City Wizards this afternoon before a meager 5,810 who braved 105-degree heat at Arrowhead Stadium.

The surging MetroStars (11-7-2, 35 points) have now won three straight and are 5-0-2 in their last seven games in charging to the top of Major League Soccer’s Eastern Division, Kansas City (11-3-5), the West leader, lost for the first time at home and is 8-1-1, but only 1-3 in day games.

In the 87th minute of play, midfielder Tab Ramos started the winnninf sequence from behind the midfield line, springing Billy Walsh along the left flank. Walsh's cross found Mathis unmarked at the top of the penalty area, leaving Mathis with a clean shot which beat keeper Tony Meola to put the MetroStars ahead 1-0.

"It was tough playing out there this afternoon with the unbearable humidity and heat," said MetroStars coach Octavio Zambrano. "However, both clubs played in the same conditions. The real story was Tim Howard and Clint Mathis. Howard was brilliant and kept us in the game with his many saves. Mathis continues to do what he has done best since he joined our club: score important goals."

The goal was the first allowed by Meola and the Wizards at Arrowhead Stadium since Kansas City's 4-3 season-opening win over the Chicago Fire on March 25th.

"We will win together and we will lose together," said K.C. forward Mo Johnston. "We'll take the hiccups."

Howard, starting his fourth game in place of the injured Mike Ammann, was a key factor in the Metros' success. He dominated his penalty area, recording seven saves to earn his third clean sheet of the season. In four appearances this year, Howard has only allowed one goal.

"I have to say Mike has done absolutely nothing to lose his starting position," Zambrano said. "He was injured and Howard is playing well. However, Tim's leaving and going to the Olympics and we have to make sure Mike gets a few games under his belt."

The two teams tested each other throughout the first half, battling in the extreme heat. Both sides managed to create a handful of chances, but neither could find net.

Kansas City came up empty on two key opportunities before the whistle, including a Preki chance that was snuffed out at the last second by MetrosStars defender Steve Jolley.

"The game could have gone either way," Preki said. "We had better chances overall. If we would've put one away, it would have changed the game. But that's the game of soccer."

MetroStars 1, Kansas City Wizards 0

Lineups: Kansas City - Tony Meola, Nick Garcia, Peter Vermes, Brandon Prideaux, Chris Klein (Peter Byaruhanga 90), Matt McKeon, Kerry Zavagnin, Chris Henderson, Preki, Mo Johnston (Miklos Molnar 80), Chris Brown. MetroStars - Tim Howard, Daniel Hernandez, Steve Jolley, Mike Petke, Ramiro Corrales, Billy Walsh, Petter Villegas (Alex Comas 75), Tab Ramos, Roy Myers, Adolfo Valencia (Steve Shak 57), Clint Mathis (Orlando Perez 90).

MetroStars - Mathis (Walsh, Ramos) 87.

Total shots: Kansas City 19 (Preki 6), MetroStars 13 (Mathis 4). Shots on goal: Kansas City 8 (Preki 3), MetroStars 7 (Mathis 2, Myers 2). Saves: Kansas City - Meola 6; MetroStars - Howard 7. Fouls: Kansas City 12 (McKeon 4), MetroStars 20 (Walsh 4,, Jolley 4). Offside: Kansas City 2, MetroStars 6. Corner kicks: Kansas City 5, MetroStars 4. Yellow card cautions: Kansas City - Zavagnin 12, McKeon 66; MetroStars - Mathis 82, Ramos 88, Myers 92+. Possession percentage: Kansas City 48, MetroStars 52.

Referee: Michael Kennedy. Referee's assistants: Scott Weyland, Terry Mashino. Attendance: 5,810 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. Weather: Hot, 105 degrees, humid.

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