Forward Clint Mathis had a hat trick to spark the New York/New Jersey MetroStars to a 4-1 victory over the Kansas City Wizards last night at Giants Stadium.
Mathis, who also has starred for the U.S. national team this year, leads Major League Soccer in scoring with five goals and two assists for 12 points.
Last weekend he scored on a spectacular run against Dallas.
The MetroStars are 3-1-1 for 10 points and will host D.C. United (2-1) Saturday night. Kansas City, the defending MLS champion, came into the match with a four-game unbeaten streak, but fell to 3-2-1 with 10 points.
"Right now Mathis is on fire," Wizards Coach Bob Gansler said. "Everything he touches turns to gold."
Kansas City scored the first goal in the 10th minute. The MetroStars were unable to clear a corner kick and Mo Johnston headed the ball to Kerry Zavagnin, who scored from 20 yards.
Then Mathis went to work.
He drew a foul as he tried to push the ball between two defenders just outside the box. He bent his ensuing free kick around a four-man wall into the upper right corner from 27 yards to tie the game in the 16th minute.
Mathis made it 2-1 in the 32nd minute by driving a shot past goalkeeper Tony Meola.
He completed the hat trick in the 50th minute when he headed in Tab Ramos's corner kick. The MetroStars added another goal in the 58th minute when Adolfo Valencia knocked in a rebound.
Blackburn Rovers, with American goalkeeper Brad Friedel, secured promotion to the English Premier League, thanks to a 1-0 victory at Preston North End.
Matt Jansen's 72nd-minute goal guaranteed Manager Graeme Souness's side the second automatic promotion place in Division One behind champion Fulham. With one game remaining, Blackburn, which was relegated from the Premier League two seasons ago, has 90 points, four more than third-place Bolton Wanderers.
"It's been nail-biting stuff," said Jansen. "There's no better feeling than this -- the lads deserve a drink."