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Minnesota Thunder Tie Vancouver Whitecaps 1-1

September 4, 2009 - USL First Division (USL-1) - Minnesota Thunder News Release

BLAINE, MN - The Minnesota Thunder were in a must win situation tonight but the matched ended in a 1-1 draw against the Vancouver Whitecaps. The Thunder needed a win tonight to keep their playoff hopes alive but that the final playoff spot is now out of Minnesota's reach. Vancouver scored the first goal in the 38th minute but Minnesota rallied in the final minutes to even the score. The Thunder will gear up to play the Battery in Charleston this Sunday, September 6 at 6:30 p.m.

The majority of the first 20 minutes were played in the middle third of the field but Minnesota's Marco Terminesi gave the Thunder their first real chance in the 24th minute. He was deep in Vancouver territory with a short angle but he shot was on target. Vancouver's goalkeeper, Jay Nolly, dove and forced the ball out of bounds.

In the 35th minute, Vancouver took the lead with a header goal from Marcus Haber. The Whitecaps offense sent a cross through the box that the Thunder's goalkeeper, Nic Platter, had to address leaving the far side of the goal unattended. Haber's header hit the side netting inside the goal on the far side for the opening goal of the match.

Vancouver's goal was the only one of the half and Minnesota went into the locker room hungry for the equalizer. The Whitecaps went into the locker room looking to hold onto their lead.

The Whitecaps commanded much of the second half but in the 68th minute Ricardo Sanchez nearly evened the score. Due to a foul, Minnesota had a free kick that was 15 yards outside of the penalty box and he went for the goal. Sanchez's try just missed the crossbar leading to a Vancouver goal kick.

Nic Platter kept the game within Minnesota's reach in the 87th minute. Vancouver shot low and Platter made a diving save but could not hold on to his rebound. Vancouver got a foot on the loose ball but it hit the post and Minnesota was able to clear the ball away from danger.

Less than a minute later, Minnesota evened the score. Sanchez sent another picture perfect corner into the box and Melvin Tarley took the ball and redirected it past Nolly for the equalizing goal.

The final whistle blew and neither team could capture the lead. The Thunder were looking for three points but they were forced to take only one.

"We are pretty down about tonight's result," said Minnesota Captain Jeremiah Bass. "It means the season is over for us. We have four games left and we will give it our best shot for those games but we are disappointed. The season overall was disappointing but we will give 100% for the rest of the season. That is not a problem."

Minnesota's attention is now solely focused on the next game against Charleston. The Thunder will be visiting the Battery this Sunday at 6:30 p.m. The match can be viewed for free at www.usllive.com. The Thunder returns home to take on the Puerto Rico Islanders on Thursday, September 10 at 7:05 p.m.

For individual tickets to any Thunder home match, please visit www.ticketmaster.com or for group tickets call the Thunder office at 763.390.8336.

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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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