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Miami Fusion FC 2001
16 W, 5 L, 5 T
1st, Eastern Division
The Miami Fusion had a hugely successful 2001 season, although it would prove to be the franchises last year in MLS.
The Fusion won the 2001 Supporters Shield and dominated the four-team Eastern Conference, finishing 11 points clear of the second place MetroStars. Their record of 16-5-5 was impressive enough, as was their feat of scoring 57 goals in just 26 regular season games. They clinched the Supporters’ Shield by the narrowest of margins, just one goal over Central Conference champions, the Chicago Fire.
Chacon led the league in goals, with 19, and was also the league’s scoring champion with 47 points and won the league MVP. On top of that Chacon won the MLS fair play award in a sensational first season and coach Hudson posted a winning percentage of 71.2, the best in the 2001 MLS season.
After a superb regular season display, the Fusion came out on top in a topsy-turvy playoff quarterfinal series with Kansas City. Miami won the first game 2-0 at home courtesy of a goal apiece from Diego Serna and that man Chacon. However they then crashed to a 3-0 defeat in Kansas City, putting the pressure of for the decider back down in Florida three days later.
But Miami would advance, even after falling behind earlier on, former KC star Preki scored against his former club to tie the match up, and Chris Henderson got the series winner 19 minutes from time, as Miami advanced to play the San Jose Earthquakes in the Semifinals.
It all looked to be going to plan in the matchup with San Jose, after Preki popped up to seal a narrow 1-0 win in Game 1. However San Jose recorded a resounding 4-0 victory in California in the second game of the series, which forced a sudden death game back in South Florida.
Miami’s final MLS game [and season] would end in disappointing fashion, as Troy Dayak pounced in the 4th minute of overtime to seal a 1-0 win for the eventual 2001 MLS Cup champions, San Jose. Miami’s four year MLS career was somewhat successful, as they made the playoffs three out of four times but were soon to depart after stadium and financial issues.