Metros nearing playoff berth, assured of winning season

Monday, August 27, 2001 at 1:00am

INDIANAPOLIS - Scoring early and hanging on in the rain was the right formula for the playoff-seeking Nashville Metros in their 3-2 victory over the Indiana Blast Saturday at Koontz Memorial Stadium.

The Metros (13-9-2, 59 points) moved into third place in the A-League's Central Conference with the win and other weekend results. The Atlanta Silverbacks (12-10-1, 55 points) dropped from that spot with a 2-1 overtime home loss to the Richmond Kickers on Saturday, while the Charlotte Eagles (12-9-2, 56 points) got two points in a 3-3 road tie (one for the tie, one for scoring three goals in the match) on Friday with the Portland Timbers before a 2-1 no-points overtime loss to the Seattle Sounders the following night.

The top three teams in each of the league's three divisions gain an automatic berth in the playoffs that begin Sept. 12. Three other teams will be chosen based on season point totals or various tiebreakers if tied on points when the regular slate ends on Sept. 8. Nashville has played 24 of its 26 games, while Atlanta and Charlotte have three games remaining each. The Eagles will play the Metros on Saturday at Ezell Park in a match beginning at 7 p.m. Charlotte will host the Silverbacks on the season's last day while Nashville concludes its season on the road against the second-place Charleston Battery.

"It was a solid performance all around, had we taken our chances we could have scored about 5-6 goals,

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