Thunder Defeat First Place Charleston 2-1
BLAINE, Minn. (August 7, 2008)-The Minnesota Thunder defeated the Charleston Battery 2-1 tonight in a battle to the final whistle. With a penalty kick in the 82nd minute, the Thunder secured an important win against current first place holder Charleston. The Thunder moves up in the First Division standings to being tied for sixth place with the Portland Timbers.
The Thunder immediately came out dominating the first half, scoring on their first opportunity in the 7th minute. Stephen deRoux crossed a ball in that was shot by Alen Marcina and then rebounded by Ricardo Sanchez. Sanchez found the back of the net, giving the Thunder the early advantage, a familiar feeling from the last few games.
In the 16th minute, the Battery looked to counter. Lazo Alavanja took a free kick ten yards outside the box that came dangerously close to the Thunder goal. Thunder goalkeeper Nic Platter made a beautiful save, his first of ten tonight.
The Thunder controlled the possession for the first half, keeping the ball in the middle of the field and attacking when possible. In the 25th minute Luchi Gonzlaez took a free kick after Marcina was fouled. Gonzalez crossed the ball in, finding Thunder defender Andres Arango who headed it just out of bounds with no one there to save it.
The Thunder went into the second half up 1-0, but looking for a security goal to seal the three points. The Thunder got lucky in the 67th minute when Charleston started attacking heavily. Former Thunder striker Darren Spicer was wide open on the right side, with a great angle for a shot. Spicer's shot hit the post and was cleared by the Thunder defense immediately.
In the 77th minute, the Battery finally found the back of the net after many opportunities in the Thunder penalty area. Charleston took a free kick that was sent in by Stephen Armstrong. The ball was jumbled around inside the penalty area and Osvaldo Alonso was there to finish it past Platter. The Thunder was not ready to settle for a tie, and started to put more pressure on.
In the 82nd minute, the Thunder sealed the deal. DeRoux took the ball down the field, crossing it into Freddy Moojen for a header. A Charleston defender executed a hand ball inside the goal box, calling for a penalty kick. Marcina stepped up for the Thunder, scoring the deciding goal in an important match for both teams.
In the 90th minute, Arango stopped a dangerous play by the Battery. Charleston's leading scorer Randi Patterson went on a breakaway, with Arango and Kevin Taylor tracking him down. Arango stepped in front and stole the ball before the Thunder goal became jeopardized. The whistle blew seconds later, securing the Thunder's sixth season win against a top First Division team.
"I am proud and happy for the players tonight. They played hard and earned the three points. We will enjoy the result tonight but get down to business in the morning," said interim Thunder head coach Donny Gramenz.
The Thunder go on to play the Seattle Sounders for the third and final time on Sunday, August 10 at 5:05pm. For tickets visit www.ticketmaster.com or call 651.989.5151.
Minnesota: Platter; Arango, Greenfield, Taylor, deRoux, Dombrowski; Bass, Sanchez (Friedland 75), Gonzalez (Altman 86); Marcina (Gibson 89), Moojen.
Charleston: Wiggans; Akwari, Nylen, Velten, Reda (King 88), Alonso, Williams (Kenga 70), Armstrong, Alavanja (Spicer 45), Fuller, Patterson.
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USL First Division Stories from August 7, 2008
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