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Miami advances to U.S. Open Cup final with 3-2 over MetroStars.

UNIONDALE, New York (September 12, 2000) -- Colombian striker Diego Serna netted the game-winner and an assist as the Miami Fusion advanced to the U.S. Open Cup final with a convincing 3-2 win over the MetroStars at Mitchel Athletic Complex in Long Island. The Fusion will take on the Chicago Fire in Soldier Field on October 21 for the opportunity to bring South Florida its first sports championship of the millenium.

"I'm just delighted for the boys because they have something tangible to show. They are in a championship game and that can't be taken away from them, Fusion Head Coach Ray Hudson said. "But they are not satisfied, they want to go one final step and put a piece of silverware on the mantle piece, which would be lovely."

Forward Andy Williams gave the Fusion an early lead on a spectacular 11th minute goal. The Jamaican National Team standout picked up a pass from defender Tim Sahaydak near midfield and dribbled past three defenders before drilling a brilliant strike from 32 yards that beat Grafer to the lower left corner in the 11th minute.

The Metros nearly painted a very different picture in the third minute, but Sahaydak acrobatically cleared a shot by Adolfo Valencia off the goal line. Valencia nearly struck again in the 33rd minute on a short header that bounced off the left post after a lightning-quick save by Fusion 'keeper Nick Rimando.

The home team finally broke through in the 40th minute on some nice combination play that began with Valencia winning a ball in midfield and playing it wide to the left wing for Alexander Comas, who sailed a cross back to the center of the field and Tab Ramos about 30 yards from goal. With expert skill, Ramos controlled the ball and then quickly pushed it forward through the heart of the Fusion defense to Billy Walsh entering the right side of the penalty area. With one touch, Walsh cracked a shot home from 15 yards into the upper right corner of the goal past Nick Rimando.

Serna and Brazilian forward Welton combined for two second-half goals in a two-minute span. In the 61st minute Serna, dribbling freely down the right side of the field on a breakaway, floated a pass to Welton who one-timed the ball past Metro's goalkeeper Paul Grafer. The two South Americans switched roles in the 63rd minute, with Welton feeding Serna for another breakaway goal to give the Fusion a 3-1 lead.

The MetroStars pushed forward the balance of the game, getting one back in the 83rd minute on a goal by Valencia. On the other side of the pitch, the Fusion could not convert on a handful of clear opportunities off the counterattack.

Dating back to 1914, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is the oldest cup competition in United States soccer and is among the oldest in the world. Open to all affiliated amateur and professional teams in the U.S., the annual U.S. Open Cup is an 87-year-old-single-elimination tournament based on similar competitions played across the world concurrent with domestic league action.

The Fusion advanced to tonight's semifinal game in dramatic fashion as Jim Rooney's 32-yard blast in the 22nd minute of overtime found the upper right corner of the net to defeat 1996 U.S. Open Cup champions D.C. United 3-2 in the quarterfinals at RFK Stadium on August 9. Miami, seeded fourth in the East bracket, received a first round bye before recording a 6-1 rout of the New Jersey Stallions (D3) behind four Welton goals in the second round. In the third round, the Fusion downed the Mid Michigan Bucks (PDL) 6-5 on penalty kicks after a 3-3 draw in regulation and two overtime periods.

Miami Fusion 3, MetroStars 2

Lineups: Miami - Nick Rimando, Tyrone Marshall, Tim Sahaydak, Pablo Mastroeni, Jay Heaps, Jim Rooney (Captain), Martin Machon, Jeff Bilyk, Maurizio Rocha (Brian Kamler 71), Andy Williams (Welton 58), Diego Serna. MetroStars - Paul Graffer, Steve Jolley, Billy Walsh, Lothar Matthaus, Mike Petke, Mark Chung, Tab Ramos (Captain), Peter Villegas (Julian Gomez 76), Roy Myers, Adolfo Valencia, Alex Comas (Clint Mathis 63).

Miami - Williams (Sahaydak) 11.
MetroStars - Walsh (Ramos, Comas) 40.
Miami - Welton (Serna) 61.
Miami - Serna (Welton) 63.
MetroStars - Valencia (Gomez, Mathis) 84.

Shots: Miami 25, MetroStars 16. Shots on goal: Miami 7, MetroStars 6. Saves: Miami 4, MetroStars 6. Offside: Miami 4, MetroStars 1. Corner kicks: Miami 7, MetroStars 3. Yellow card cautions: Miami - Fraser 20, Elliott 24, Vanney 47+, Cienfuegos 81, Hernandez 93+, Hendrickson 96, Califf 110. MetroStars - Soehn 25, Kovalenko 39, Stoitchkov 54, Nowak 81, Marsch 84, Brown 99, Whitfield 103. Red card ejection: MetroStars - Bocanegra 51.

Referees: not reported. Referee’s assistants: not reported. Attendance: 7,124 at Mitchel Athletic Complex in Long Island, N.Y. Weather: not reported.

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