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   2003 Sep 14

Playoffs, 2nd round, 2nd leg:

Minnesota Thunder  1 - 0  Seattle Sounders
National Sports Center, Blaine, MN

Goals:
59' MIN - Torres (Menyongar)

Minnesota: Joe Warren; Dustin Branan, Mark Schulte, Adam Eyre, Steve Shak; Don Gramenz, Amos Magee (Jason Willan 83'), Kevin Anderson (Zafer Kilickan 87'), Marco Ferruzzi (Hugo Llamas 71'); Johnny Torres (Marshall Morehead 61'), Johnny Menyongar (Melvin Tarley 81'). Substitutes not used: Brad Swenby, Alvin Hudson.

Seattle: Rich Cullen; Zach Scott, Ryan Edwards, Scott Jenkins; Chad Brown, Jason Farrell, Sean-Michael Callahan (Craig Tomlinson 71'), Andrew Gregor, Viet Nguyen (Darren Sawatzky 52'); Marco Velez (Kyle Smith 56'), Roger Levesque (Herculez Gomez 63'). Substitutes not used: Preston Burpo, Kevin Sakuda.


Match report by Ron Stickney:

The Minnesota Thunder won the second leg of the Western Conference Championship Series as they won the first leg, by a score of 1-0. Johnny Torres notched the goal in the 59th minute, putting Minnesota up 2-0 on aggregate, and they held off Seattle for the series win. The Thunder advance to the A-League Championship Match, to be played at the winner of Charleston-Rochester.

First Half

Seattle pressured for the first 40 minutes, but Minnesota's defense didn't concede very many good chances. In the 10th minute, Roger Levesque fed Marco Velez for a shot from the top right corner of the penalty area, but Velez miskicked it. A Velez header in the 12th was well over the bar. A Seatle corner kick play led to Sean-Michael Callahan's shot in the 13th, sent well over the bar. An Andrew Gregor 16th-minute free kick from outside the top left corner went right to goalkeeper Joe Warren.

Minnesota's first good chance came in the 21st minute when goalkeeper Rich Cullen was off his line and a header went wide of the empty goal.

For Seattle in the 36th, Callahan's cross went to Jason Farrell, who skied the shot.

In the 40th, Minnesota had a flurry of shots. Johnny Menyongar got to a through ball, but Cullen came 16 yards out to block the shot. Seconds later another shot was saved by Cullen, and from the rebound Johnny Torres lined a shot that Cullen saved with a dive. Three minutes later Amos Magee fed Menyongar for another shot, just wide of Cullen's fingertips and just wide of the right post.

Halftime: Minnesota 0 - 0 Seattle

Seattle's best chance of the match came in the 48th, when Scott Jenkins (it might have been Edwards or Velez) headed a corner kick down at the far corner, but Warren made a nice diving save to prevent the goal. Seattle started putting fresh legs in at the 52nd minute, but as in the previous match the substitutes wouldn't make a difference.

59' Torres (Menyongar). With Seattle pushing forward, Torres made a timed run up the right side, Menyongar fed him with a nice through ball, and Torres finished the chance. 1-0 Minnesota.

Seattle had only a few chances the rest of the way. Chad Brown got his head on a ball inside the goal area in the 67th, but he was pressured into heading it wide. Gregor's 25-yard free kick in the 71st was sent well over the bar. Sawatzky fed Farrell for a shot in the 72nd, but again he miskicked it.

For the final 18 minutes plus 5 minutes of added time, Minnesota's defense did the job, denying any more good chances. Minnesota's defense was solid through the whole 2-match series. Dustin Branan, Mark Schulte, Adam Eyre, and goalkeeper Warren deserve major credit for putting the Thunder into the final.

Final: Minnesota 1 - 0 Seattle

Statistics:
         Minnesota   Seattle
Shots:        7         12
Saves:        2          4
Corners:      1          7
Fouls:       14         17
Offsides:     2          2

Misconduct:
8' SEA - Nguyen cautioned for throwing the ball in frustration when the call was goal kick instead of corner kick.
23' SEA - Edwards cautioned for jumping head first into Menyongar in a reckless challenge for the ball.
85' SEA - Tomlinson cautioned for recklessly running into Anderson tracking an air ball.
90' MIN - Tarley cautioned for kicking the ball after Cullen caught it.

Referees: Terry Vaughn; Jeff Filipek, Jeremy Schroeder; Mishaun Ahmad
Attendance: 2,612