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Fusion Fires Cordoba After 19 games

July 25, 1998

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) _ The Miami Fusion, whose offensive woes have them in last place in Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference, fired coach Carlos ``Cacho″ Cordoba on Friday and replaced him with Ivo Wortmann.

Cordoba lasted only 19 games into the Fusion’s inaugural season, posting an 8-11 record. Despite the presence of Colombian playmaker Carlos Valderrama for more than half the season, Miami’s 19 goals was five fewer than any other team.

``We decided to make a coaching change,″ said Leandro Stillitano, the Fusion’s vice president and general manager. ``With almost half the season still to play, we are within reach of a playoff spot.″

Wortmann, 49, will make his MLS coaching debut Sunday at New England. The former Brazilian international coached the Saudi Arabian Olympic team in the 1996 Atlanta Games and guided that nation’s Under-17 team to the 1989 World Youth Championship.

Wortmann has spent the past year as coaching director at the Bollettieri Sports Academy in Bradenton, Fla. He also helped organize this year’s MLS player combine in Fort Lauderdale, a tryout camp which precedes the league’s annual draft in early February.

``Ivo’s an internationally experienced coach who has had the opportunity to work with top American players,″ Stillitano said. ``We are confident that he will put the best possible product on the field for our fans to enjoy.″

Five of the Fusion’s eight wins have come in shootouts, which award teams just one point instead of the three for winning in regulation. Miami’s 14 points is four less than Tampa Bay (6-15) and two behind New England (6-14).

The Fusion also fired assistants Mario Degl’Innocenti and Pedro Magallanes. Assistant Nick Megaloudis will remain to assist Wortmann during the coaching transition. New assistants will be named in the coming weeks.

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