The only goal the Minnesota Thunder needed to defeat the Cleveland City Stars on Thursday night was struck early by Lawrence Olum in the 7th minute. Olum made a run into the box after a cross was made by Marco Terminesi. It would take 83 more minutes before the Thunder could seal the deal and bury the City Stars, with 2 additional goals coming from Terminesi.
Read on for a game report and Photos by Jeremy Olson.
It was Cleveland’s first loss to the Thunder in three games this season. Hunter Gilstrap did his best to keep the City Stars in the match but the two late goals by Marco Terminesi sealed the match for the Thunder.
Minnesota (5-11-8) struck early during the 7th minute in the first chance of the match for either side. Terminesi, showing that he would pester the Cleveland (3-16-7) side all night, controlled down the left side and into the box. As Terminesi turned the corner around the City Stars defense he sent a timely cross into the six-yard box where Lawrence Olum was waiting. Olum’s one-touch changed the direction of the ball and the shot slid between a stunned Hunter Gilstrap and the near post for the early 1-0 lead.
Minnesota looked to add to the lead in the 20th minute. Jeremiah Bass controlled inside the 18 and sent a pass back to Olum near the top of the box to begin the dangerous sequence. Olum controlled and dropped the ball off to Leonel St. Preux on the right side of the box but St. Preux’s shot was miss-hit and did not threaten.
In the 26th minute St. Preux looked to make up for the mishap on the previous shot by sending a cross into the box. Ricardo Sanchez was there for the Thunder but with Gilstrap off his line he was unable to get a touch on the ball.
Minnesota continued to control possession and got another shot off in the 27th minute as Terminesi made a run up the left side after receiving an over the top pass from Andrew Peterson. Terminesi dribbled into the box and fired on goal but Gilstrap was there to smother the ball for the save.
Cleveland created its first chance in the 32nd minute. Teteh Bangura won the ball after overpowering the defender near the sideline. Bangura pushed up the sideline and sent a cross into Kolby LaCrone but the ball was deflected out of bounds by Minnesota keeper Nic Platter before LaCrone could make a play.
Cleveland sent a corner kick into the box off the restart in the 33rd minute. The cross was deflected out of the pack by Platter before Troy Roberts sent it back into the box with a header. Alioune Gueye attacked towards the airborne ball and sent a header towards what appeared to be an open net and a sure goal, but Platter reacted quickly and recovered to close the gap and grab the lose ball for the save.
Minnesota had another chance just before halftime as Sanchez sent a free kick towards the net where Arango was pushed up but the defender’s header was expertly saved by a diving Gilstrap to keep the halftime score 1-0.
The Thunder continued to apply the pressure in the second half. After a fifty-fifty ball was controlled by Minnesota in the 52nd minute, Bass fired a shot the snuck under the arms of Gilstrap but the ball crawled across the goal line and missed the corner of the net.
In the 59th minute Terminesi found himself open in the left corner of the box. As Terminesi dribbled and drew the defense, he dropped a pass back to Sanchez who had time to step into an unmarked shot but the attempt flew over the top of the cross bar.
Cleveland had a spark in the 64th minute behind former Thunder Leo Gibson who had checked in at halftime. Off a free kick from Ibrahim Kante that came from near midfield, Roberts flicked the ball from inside the box back out to Gibson who controlled and fired a shot from 20-yards out but the shot sliced wide right.
A minute later, Gibson threatened again in the 65th. Gibson controlled a throw-in and worked his way to the top of the box before forcing off another shot that sailed wide right.
The Thunder had a great chance to increase the lead in the 77th minute off a corner from Rod Dyachenko. Gilstrap cut off the cross from Dyachenko but lost control on the way down. With Gilstrap on the ground and grasping for the lose ball, Bass got a touch on the ball and sent it towards the open net but Pato Aguilera was able to get in front of the ball and redirect it back into the arms of Gilstrap.
Ryan Stewart created an opportunity for the City Stars in the 83rd minute with a run up the right sideline. Stewart turned the corner and sent a cross into the middle where Gibson and the recently inserted Isreal Sesay converged on the ball inside the box but neither was able to get a touch on the ball. As the ball snuck through, Aguilera and Platter had a foot race to the lose ball but Platter was able track the ball down before any harm was done.
Minnesota added to the lead in the 89th minute with a disputed goal. Bass pushed up the left side of the box and lofted a shot towards Gilstrap but before the keeper could get into position to make a play the ball was deflected by an apparently off-sides Terminesi and into the open net for the 2-0 lead.
In stoppage time a minute later, Kante committed a foul just outside the penalty area that set up a free kick for the Thunder. Terminesi stepped up and took the shot and bent the ball around the wall and into the far corner of the net for the final 3-0 advantage.