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Thunder Drops Season Opener 2-1 At Carolina Railhawks

April 11, 2009 - USL First Division (USL-1) - Minnesota Thunder News Release

CARY, North Carolina (Saturday, April 11, 2009) - The Minnesota Thunder opened the 2009 campaign on the road tonight at the Carolina Railhawks with a 2-1 loss. The Thunder spent the final 68 minutes battling down a man after defender Brian Kallman received a red card early in the game. Railhawks forward Gavin Glinton provided the game winning goal in the 56th minute. The Thunder will continue its road swing, traveling to the Austin Aztecs for their franchise opener on Saturday, April 18.

The Railhawks controlled the play the majority of the first half. In the 10th minute defender Jack Stewart got his head on the end of a free kick, but Thunder goalkeeper Nic Platter was there to make the save.

The Railhawks opened up the 2009 USL First Division scoring when former Thunder player and current Railhawks defender Mark Schulte sent a long throw in into the box. The throw in was cleared back to Schulte who took a one time shot from 10 yards outside of the corner of the box. His screaming shot went through every player in the area and found the far side netting, beating an outstretched Platter.

In the 15th minute Railhawks forward Salieu Bundu collected a cross at the six-yard box. As he attempted to shoot he slipped but was able to flick the ball over to Luke Kraemalmeyer who sent his shot directly into the hands of Platter.

Just seven minutes later, Thunder defender Brian Kallman attempted a hard tackle on a Railhawks player, resulting in a straight red card to put the Thunder down a man for the remainder of the game.

In the 24th minute, Railhawks midfielder Josh Gardner sent a cross into the box that found the head of Bundu. His header hit off the far post and Kraemalmeyer sprayed the follow up over the cross bar.

Three minutes later, 2008 Thunder leading scorer Melvin Tarley got his first goal of the season. Tarley collected a ball 40 yards out from the Railhawks goal and sent it to Rod Dyachenko up the right side. Dyachenko immediately gave the ball back to streaking Tarley who carried it just inside the box where his shot found the upper right side of the goal to even the score going into the half.

In the 47th minute, the Thunder had their best opportunity to take the lead. Schulte lost the ball in the defense for Carolina and Thunder midfielder Dale Weiler pounced on the ball. Weiler collected the ball in the box and took a shot, but couldn't get enough on it a Carolina goalkeeper Eric Reed made the save.

Glinton hit home the game winning goal in the 56th minute on a fluke play. Schulte sent in a throw in into the Thunder area that was cleared 10 yards out at the top of the box. Railhawks midfielder Daniel Paladini took a one time shot that was deflected up in the air towards the goal. Platter, who was in position for the original shot, found himself having to face his goal and tip the ball off the crossbar where it came back into play. As Platter attempted to turn and face the field for the follow up, he got tangled in the side netting and couldn't turn to make the save on Glinton's shot.

"I am dissapointed in the result tonight and the game is a tough one to swallow," said Thunder head coach Donny Gramenz. "I am proud of the guys for battling 70 minutes a man down and even scoring a goal. We will learn from this match and start preparing for Austin on Monday."

The Thunder's home opener is on Saturday, May 2 against the defending champions, the Vancouver Whitecaps. For tickets visit www.ticketmaster.com.

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