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Veteran strike trio pushes Miami over MetroStars 3-1.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- The Miami Fusion demonstrated a revived offense, received a goal from its three veteran attackers and downed the MetroStars 3-1 before 10,482 at Lockhart Stadium tonight.

Roy Lassiter and Diego Serna each had a goal and an assist, and Eric Wynalda one goal for Miami in spoiling the MetroStars debut of German legend Lothar Matthaeus.

The 1998-99 German Footballer of the Year made his debut for the MetroStars, making several clutch defensive plays in his own box. pushing forward in the second half as well and creating several decent scoring chances from the midfield.

"It is always tough to lose, especially with the fact that our first game has been anticipated for such a long time with the new players," said MetroStars coach Octavio Zambrano." I thought Lothar played well, but he obviously needs more time to find himself with his new teammates. Those things take time.

Wynalda netted the game-winner with a glancing header of Martin Machonís right-side corner kick to make it 2-1 in the 51st minute.

In the 65th, Miami made it 3-1. With the MetroStars pushing forward in search of an equalizer. Lassiter found space on the right side, slipping past the MetroStars defense to spring Serna at the top of the box. Serna, Miami's all-time leading scorer, carried right around Amman and side-footed a shot into an empty net.

Miami struck first 16 minutes into the contest when MetroStars defender Mohammad Khakpour misplayed a sloppy back pass at the top of the box. Serna pounced on a loose ball and sprung Lassiter on the left side. Lassiter walked in alone and slotted the ball past Amman to make it 1-0. The goal was Lassiter's 74th in his career, tops in MLS history, two more than Tampa Bayís Raul Diaz Arce, who is tied for the 2000 lead with three.

The MetroStars got even 11 minutes later when striker Alex Comas broke free down the left wing, barely staying onside to play a nice Mark Chung through ball. Comas raced towards the goal, cut around Miami goaltender Jeff Cassar and banked his first MLS tally in off the far post to knot the score a 1-1.

Fusion goalkeeper Jeff Cassar made several key saves in the second half to keep the MetroStars at bay. Cassar stopped Dooley from point-blank range, after a crafty setup by Matthaeus, and Miles Joseph.

Comasí fellow Colombian Adolfo Valencia -- the two joined the MetroStars in the offseason -- came on as a late substitute in the 76th minute, but was unable to generate any offense for the Metros. He is limited by an abdominal strain. Metros' midfielder Tab Ramos also sat out the contest with a strained hamstring.

Miami Fusion 3, MetroStars 1

Lineups: Miami - Jeff Cassar, Leo Cullen, Francis Okaroh, Tyrone Marshall, Jay Heaps, Martin Machon (Jim Rooney 61), Andy Williams (Henry Gutierrez 81), Pablo Mastroeni, Roy Lassiter, Eric Wynalda (Brian Kamler 75), Diego Serna. MetroStars - Jeff Cassar, Leo Cullen, Francis Okaroh, Tyrone Marshall, Jay Heaps, Martin Machon (Jim Rooney 61), Andy Williams (Henry Gutierrez 81), Pablo Mastroeni, Roy Lassiter, Eric Wynalda (Brian Kamler 75), Diego Serna.

Scoring:
Miami - Lassiter (Serna) 16.
MetroStars - Comas (Chung) 27.
Miami - Wynalda (Machon) 51.
Miami - Serna (Lassiter) 65.

Total shots: Miami 12 (Lassiter 5), MetroStars 11 (Comas 3). Shots on goal: Miami 9 (Lassiter 5), MetroStars 7 (Comas 3). Saves: Miami - Cassar 6; MetroStars - Ammann 6. Fouls: Miami 12 (Serna 2, Heaps 2, Okaroh 2), MetroStars 13 (Comas 4). Offside: Miami 8, MetroStars 3. Corner kicks: Miami 6, MetroStars 6. Possession percentage: Miami 47, MetroStars 53.

Referee: Marcel Yonan. Referee's assistants: Reggie Rutty, Kermit Quisenberry. Attendance: 10,482 at Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Weather: Fair, 79 degrees.

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