Victory, Minnesota end goalless
The California Victory and the Minnesota Thunder labored to a goalless tie in San Francisco Saturday night in a battle-of-the-bottom match that was anything but dull.
A win for the Vics would have lifted them off the bottom of the league and above Minnesota, but in the end both teams deserved the nil-nil scoreline thanks to plenty of squandered goal-scoring opportunities and a handful of fine saves from both 'keepers.
The Victory enjoyed some good early possession and attacked well, drawing three corners in the first five minutes.
California's Ricardo Sanchez, who has proved more than capable of delivering a dangerous set piece, almost scored directly from a corner but the ball bounced off the back post and clear.
Minnesota, who seemed content to break on the counterattack, almost went ahead after Brian Farber collected a cutting midfield through ball in the 12th minute, but Victory 'keeper Eric Reed did well to block the shot leaving Ryan Suarez to clear the danger.
Farber was menacing throughout his 66 minutes played, recording three shots.
At the other end Josh Hansen had a shot cleared off the line following Sanchez' free kick, and Chris Schwarze headed wide from the resulting corner.
Minnesota had their own chances through Aaron Paye and Keisuke Ota, but Reed was equal to their efforts and made two fine saves.
The second half proved to be far from a clinic on scoring goals, with both sides missing gilt-edge chances.
California's Kiel McClung had a shot somehow cleared from eight yards before Minnesota substitute Ansu Toure's curling free kick was parried away by Reed.
Paye beat Reed on another free kick minutes later but the rocket fizzed wide.
California thought they had broken the deadlock when Yuri Morales bundled the ball home in the 83rd minute, but the goal was disallowed for an offside call.
Minnesota almost stole the game in the final minute when Toure's diving header looked destined for the top corner, but Reed pulled off another brilliant reflex save to keep the points shared.
The tie leaves California (1-4-3) rooted to the bottom of the USL First Division with six points, and Minnesota (1-5-4) just above with seven points, having played two more games.
The Victory plays its first Lamar Hunt US Open Cup game Tuesday when it travels to Utah to take on the BYU Cougars of the PDL, before playing league road games at Rochester, Atlanta and Minnesota. The next home game is June 28 against Portland.
Minnesota next heads north to play champions Vancouver on Sunday night.
VICTORY: Reed, Aguilar, Schwarze, Suarez (Dunn 45), Retiz (Munoz 45), McClung, Sanchez, Kim (Palomares 77), Morales, Hansen MINNESOTA: Platter, Taylor, Tenoff, Zenoni, Greenfield, Juarez, Farber (Toure 66), Bass, Alvino (Hidalgo 81), Paye, Ota (Gotsmanov 73)
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USL First Division Stories from June 10, 2007
- Victory, Minnesota end goalless - California Victory
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