Rookie Pat Noonan scored three goals as the New England Revolution clinched second place in Major League Soccer's Eastern Division with a 5-2 victory over the MetroStars in the two teams' final regular season match.
The teams will meet again Nov. 1 in the first round of a two-match total-goals playoff series, in which second place carries home advantage in the return leg.
The Revolution, which went 3-0-1 against the MetroStars this season, took a 2-0 halftime lead on goals by Noonan in the 41st minute and Dario Fabbro in the 45th minute.
The MetroStars, who have won just one of their last six matches, cut their deficit to 3-1 on a penalty kick by Mark Lisi in the 62nd minute. New York-New Jersey scored again in the 69th minute when rookie midfielder Jacob LeBlanc tucked a low shot to the left corner past New England goalkeeper Adin Brown.
Noonan scored in the 51st minute, and capped his hat trick with a goal in the 68th minute, his 10th of the season, after Brian Kamler set up the play with a steal and long run.
Noonan has scored seven of his 10 goals against the MetroStars this season. He also has seven assists this season.
New England's Steve Ralston, who assisted on the Revolution's first two goals, scored at the 65-minute mark to give his team a 4-1 lead.
New England closed the regular season at 12-9-9 while the MetroStars finished at 11-10-9. MetroStars Head Coach Bob Bradley rested several of his starters for the final game of the regular season, including forward Clint Mathis, playmaker Amado Guevara, rookie Mike Magee, defender Steve Jolley and captain Eddie Pope.
"Once it was clear after the last game that we were going to play New England in the playoffs, we wanted to begin focusing on the playoffs," said MetroStars coach Bob Bradley.