Comeback falls short as season is suddenly over
October 6, 2000 (Official Game Summary)

Chicago MetroStars
Valencia 2
10.06.00 · Playoff

The Chicago Fire became the first team to advance to the MLS Cup 2000 Championship Game with a last-minute 3-2 victory over the MetroStars at Soldier Field Friday night. Forward Ante Razov scored the game winner in the 88th minute of play, sending the Fire to vie for the Alan I. Rothenberg trophy for the second time in the team's three-year history.

Defender C.J. Brown wasted no time in getting the Fire on the board, knocking home a Hristo Stoitchkov corner kick in the third minute of play. Stoitchkov feathered the corner kick into the center of the MetroStars' penalty area. Driving in from the top of the box, Brown cut into the pack of players in front of the goal, redirecting the ball into the far corner of the net.

Stoitchkov added another goal in the 31st minute of play, hitting a spectacular 18-yard bomb off the underside of the crossbar. Carrying the ball into the box, the Bulgarian legend struck a perfect ball that froze the MetroStars defense. Stoitchkov's shot carried over goalkeeper Mike Ammann, hitting the underside of the crossbar in the far corner before rattling down the inside of the post and into the back of the net.

The MetroStars did not roll over, however, mounting a quick rally to erase the Fire's two-goal lead. Alex Comas started the offensive rush, playing the ball wide to defender Mike Petke, streaking down the right flank to join the attack. Petke penetrated the Fire penalty area, sending a square ball into space in front of the net. Colombian forward Adolfo Valencia slid into the ball, trickling it past 'keeper Zach Thornton and over the line.

Valencia struck again in the 36th minute, capitalizing on a chaotic situation in the area to knot the game at 2-2. In the confusion following a long Lothar Matthaus free-kick attempt, midfielder Mark Chung blasted a shot into a maze of players in the box. Valencia picked up the rebound, roofing the ball from two yards off of the goal line.

Neither side could get the go-ahead goal until the closing minutes of the game, when Razov threaded home his dramatic game-winner. Midfielder Chris Armas collected a floating clearance in the center of the field, sending the ball upfield to Razov just seconds before the MetroStars could spring the offside trap. Ammann rushed off of his line to cut down Razov's shooting angle, but the Fire striker slid the ball past Ammann and into the net for the victory.

Lineup: Ammann, Matthaus, Petke, Jolley, Walsh, Villegas, Chung, Myers, Mathis, Comas, Valencia. Subs: Ramos.

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