You will never forget that mohawk haircut during the 2002 World Cup before the match started against South Korea. You keep remembering Jack Edwards call after the goal scored to silence a nation “THAT’S WHY HE’S HERE!” You will never forget the goal he scored during the final round of qualifying in Honduras with the free kick that I labeled “One Honduran Special” Well for all of us it is a tough time to say goodbye as Cletus, Clintinho, Clint Mathis has officially announced his retirement and his final match will be the friendly this Saturday against Real Madrid.
He started his career with the Los Angeles Galaxy, but his star really shined when he was acquired in the dispersal draft from the MetroStars and then head coach Octavio Zambrano brought him over to add some firepower to the forwards. But little did all of us in the NYC tri-state area knew what ability he possessed and scored goals like there was no tomorrow.
Since his goal against the Galaxy at the Rose Bowl, Mathis always lifted his jersey and showed the famous T-shirt advertising New York City & State Tourisum with “I Love New York”. There have been so many goals scored by him within MLS play the three matches I remember when he was playing for the Metro was the hat trick in 2001 against the Kansas City Wizards. The free kick goal with the right foot, the running blast with the left & the header goal.
The one club he terrorized to no end was the Dallas Burn/FC Dallas and the two big moments I can remember is the five goal match at the Cotton Bowl in 2000 & the 70yd running Slalom thru defenders and blasting the ball past Matt Jordan to get the crowd off their feet and erupted with joy.
When Mathis made a return to Giants Stadium in 2007 and signed on for a season to play with the New York Red Bulls he was able to get that magical goal to pass Giovanni Savarese for most goals scored in all competitions and did so within first half stoppage time as he blasted a loose ball past Joe Cannon. That was a moment when over 66,000 filled the swamp to see David Beckham play & got a five to four victory over the Galaxy.
Of course I was very happy to see Mathis win his first MLS Cup championship last season with Real Salt Lake as he fought thru injury year after year after year. When he announced his retirement today, so many wonderful memories filled up inside me from his days with Metro & RBNY. We also remember some of those moments when he played for the US National Team, but one thing we all knew about Clint Mathis. He was a hard worker and a showman at the same time.
I truly believe we lost a good man who won’t be performing week in & week out anymore at a local soccer stadium near you, but we had a great time watching him do what he does best. Having the spotlight on him and doing it well. We shall always remember Clint Mathis and wish him well on his future with or without the game.
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