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Thunder Drops Game to Cleveland City in Overtime

June 25, 2008 - USL First Division (USL-1) - Minnesota Thunder News Release

BLAINE, Minn. (June 24, 2008)- The Minnesota Thunder dropped their second round game of the U.S. Open Cup against the Cleveland City Stars 2-0 Tuesday night. After a tough run by both teams, overtime was the deciding factor to see who would move on to play the Chicago Fire in the third round.

The Thunder didn't play their best soccer tonight, with a few setbacks throughout the game. The Thunder defense controlled most of the game from the midfield, but the strikers couldn't seem to find the right opportunity to capitalize on. In the 18th minute, Tighe Dombrowski sent a ball from the sideline to Melvin Tarley, but a Star defender got there first and headed it away.

Dombrowski was one of the few Thunder midfielders to keep the pressure on in the first half, firing a shot from outside the 18-yard box that curved just over the top right corner of the net in the 39th minute.

The Thunder put more pressure on in the second half, realizing what was at stake. In the 49th minute, USL team of the week player Ricardo Sanchez sent a bending ball to the far post where Luchi Gonzalez was waiting for the ball. Gonzalez couldn't seem to get his footing right and lost possession.

In the 52nd minute, Thunder keeper Nic Platter made a save that kept the Thunder in the game. Frank Floyd sent a shot to the upper right corner of the net, but Platter was there to punch it out, making a perfect save for the Thunder's defense. The Thunder started attacking heavily in the 80th minute when Sanchez sent a ball to Tarley who was in the 6-yard box but couldn't find the back of the net. Leo Gibson was outside the box to send it back in, but the Thunder couldn't seem to get past the Stars' defense.

After 90 minutes of regulation, the game was scoreless. Both teams were tired but were determined to get a goal to advance to the next round. In the 104th minute, the Stars got on the board. Anthony Stovall sent a ball to Franks who chipped the ball over Platter, giving the Stars the advantage going into the second overtime.

After some physical altercations between both teams in the 105th minute, Stovall was ejected from the game, leaving the Stars with one less man on the field. The Thunder quickly tried to take advantage of the opportunity. Gibson and Paye tried to combine efforts and keep the offensive pressure on, but couldn't seem to find the back of the net in time.

Thunder defender Brian Kallman stepped up for the Thunder, saving them from a few dangerous Star opportunities late into overtime. The Thunder's best chance came in the 113th minute when Sanchez sent a perfect ball to Kevin Friedland who headed the ball to the upper corner. Star's goalkeeper Eric Reed was there to punch the ball over the goal for a Thunder corner kick.

In the 119th minute, the Stars got their security goal to send them to the next round. Stars' striker Ian Leibbrant was fouled by Platter inside the box, leading to a penalty kick for the Stars. Franks was set to take the kick, and sent a laser to the top corner for a 2-0 Star lead.

The game ended in favor of the Stars, sending them to the next round of the U.S. Open Cup. The Thunder leave on a two game road trip to Puerto Rico in search for some much-needed points. The matches are set for June 27 and 29 at 7pm and 5pm, respectively. The Thunder's next home game is set for Friday, July 11 against the Carolina Railhawks. Kickoff is set for 7:05pm.

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