Tampa Bay Mutiny 2000
2000 Club by Club
The 2000 season saw some shakeups in MLS, as the league organized itself into three divisions – West, Central and East. The Tampa Bay Mutiny, after four seasons in the Eastern Conference, now found themselves in the Central Division with the Chicago Fire, Dallas Burn, and Columbus Crew.
In addition to housing the Burn and Fire – teams that featured the reigning Scoring Champion and were two-years removed from an MLS Cup, respectively – the Central featured the Mutiny’s foes in their ill-fated 1999 playoff run, the Columbus Crew. But revenge would not be long in coming, as Tampa Bay opened the season with a 5-2 rout of the Canaries.
The goalfest would set the tone for the Florida club throughout the entire season. On April 1, the Mutiny welcomed six-foot-four striker Mamadou Diallo to the team for a match against the rival Dallas Burn, and though “Big Mama” would be held scoreless that day, he would go on to score 26 goals for Tampa Bay during the 2000 season.
While the Mutiny were putting up the third-most goals in the league on the one end, the sensational play of goalkeeper Scott Garlick propelled the team to the sixth-fewest allowed. Though they never won more than three games in a row, Tampa Bay finished the regular season with a 16-12-4 record – 2000 marked the first time ties were allowed in Major League Soccer – and earned a berth to the playoffs as the second-placed team in the Central Division.
But for yet another year, the Mutiny would be bounced in the first round as the Los Angeles Galaxy sealed the three-game series with two wins by a combined score of 6-2.