Published 2003 Jul 17

Match report from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

Seattle 1, Minnesota Thunder 0

The Minnesota Thunder missed chances early, late, from close range, from far away, and everywhere in between.

It added up to two more big missed chances in a 1-0 loss to A-League rival Seattle on Wednesday. With the loss in the third round of the U.S. Open Cup, the Thunder lost out on a big draw and the possibility of a big payoff.

The Sounders' Kyle Smith scored in the 60th minute, taking advantage of a rare defensive lapse by the Thunder for the only goal of the match, played in front of an announced crowd of 3,182 at the National Sports Center in Blaine. The Thunder had several chances to tie, including a header by Amos Magee that hit the crossbar in the 88th minute and a volley by Dustin Branan that sailed high in stoppage time.

"We did everything right," Magee said. "That team, for whatever reason, has our number right now."

Though the match between division leaders did not count in the standings, it had great importance to the Thunder. A victory would have moved the team on to play host to San Jose of Major League Soccer in the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup -- an annual tournament featuring teams from all levels of soccer. The winner receives $100,000, and the last remaining team from the A-League receives $10,000.

The Thunder held a 16-8 advantage in shots and controlled possession for roughly three-fourths of the match. But the Thunder had few high-quality scoring chances in the first half as Seattle clamped down and Minnesota wasted some promising situations by being too fancy with the ball.

"We should be playing with more urgency from the start of the game," midfielder Don Gramenz said.

The Thunder often looked caught between being aggressive and cautious while the score was still tied. It looked far more concerned after Seattle scored, but by then it had only 30 minutes to work with.

In that span, Johnny Menyongar missed a golden chance when he tried to dribble around Seattle keeper Rich Cullen instead of shooting from 8 yards out. Johnny Torres also just missed scoring when he couldn't control a ball after getting behind Cullen. Then there were the two late misses.

"We always want to prove we can play with teams in MLS," Gramenz said. "But we haven't been able to do that."

Thunder midfielder Kevin Anderson left in the 56th minute because of a left hamstring injury.