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Vics battle for tie in Rochester

June 23, 2007 - USL First Division (USL-1) - California Victory News Release

ROCHESTER, NY (June 22, 2007) -- The California Victory extends its unbeaten run to five games after pulling off an unlikely 1-1 tie against the top-of-the-table Raging Rhinos in Rochester Friday night.

Hugo Casillas scored the Victory's surprise equalizer in the 84th minute, canceling out Hamed Diallo's first-half opener in a tough and physical game that neither side was able to fully control.

"I thought the 1-1 tie was a very good result for us against the league leaders," said Victory head coach Glenn Van Straatum. "I think we matched them -- if not surprised them."

The Rhino's 15th-minute goal came after Victory 'keeper Eric Reed saved well from Diallo's initial attempt, only to lose possession of the ball on the goal line leaving Diallo to follow up and knock the ball home.

Chances were few and far between for the visiting team but the Vics held their ground and in the second half were able to frustrate the Rhinos by clogging up the midfield and not allowing the home side to find any rhythm.

Reed was again superb in the Victory goal, recording eight vital saves.

An inspired second-half substitution saw Victory midfielder Mike Muñoz back in action after missing much of the season with an injury, and it was his pass to Casillas on the left that created the equalizer.

Casillas looked to loft the ball into the area, but his cross ended up beating Rhinos 'keeper Chase Harrison at the far post.

The goal marks the first for the Victory since its 1-0 win over champions Vancouver three weeks ago, having gone scoreless against both Minnesota and Atlanta.

The Victory were able to cling on for another tie, and even came close to snatching all three points through Muñoz in the dying minutes.

"I personally felt we could have done better in terms of scoring," said Van Straatum. "But that will come with patience. Now we are off to Minnesota, and our unbeaten streak continues."

California (1-4-5, 8 points, 12th place) head to Minnesota (1-6-5, 8 points, 11th place) Sunday to take on the Thunder in the first of two games: a league game on June 24 and a US Open Cup matchup on June 26.

The Victory will again have the opportunity of leapfrogging Minnesota in the standings with a win, as the Thunder sit one place above the Vics having scored one more goal.

Rochester (6-3-6, 24 points, 2nd place) gives up the top spot to the Vancouver Whitecaps, who defeated Miami FC tonight, and next plays the Atlanta Sliverbacks on June 29.

California: Eric Reed, Luis Aquilar, Chris Schwarze, Cameron Dunn, Kiel McClung, Jose Retiz, Hugo Casillas (Matt Fitzgerald, 90'), Raul Palomares (Chuck Kim, 82'), Ricardo Sanchez, Yuri Morales, Josh Hansen (Mike Munoz, 65')

Rochester: Chase Harrison, Chris Aloisi, Kenney Bertz, Scott Palguta, Tenywa Bonseu, Stephen Shirley-Black, Johnny Menyongar (Mike Ambersley, 73'), Aaran Lines (John Ball, 78'), Josh Bolton (Kevin Burns, 78'), Matthew Delicâte, Hamed Diallo (Rey Martinez, 73')

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