Thunder advance with golden goal
Minnesota wins 2-1 on aggregate in series overtime
BLAINE, MN -- The Minnesota Thunder advanced to the second round of the A-League playoffs with a 2-0 win in series overtime over the Milwaukee Wave United propelled by forward Johnny Torres’ two goals. Minnesota won the two-game series 2-1 to advance to the Western Conference Finals.
The Thunder will play at the winner of the Seattle/Vancouver series on Friday, Sept. 12 (kickoff 9 p.m. CT). The second game of the series will be on Sunday, Sept. 14 (kickoff 4 p.m. CT) at the National Sports Center. Tickets ($10-20) are on sale now by calling the Thunder office at (763) 785-3668 or online at www.mnthunder.com
The team with the higher combined score will advance to the A-League final, facing the winner of the Eastern Conference. If the combined score is tied after Sunday’s match, then there will be a 30-minute, golden goal series overtime played immediately following the match at the NSC. If no team scores in the overtime, then the game will go to penalty kicks.
“It feels great that we’re going on,” Torres said. “We focused on staying patient and are just happy to be moving on. We deserve it.”
After multiple failed scoring opportunities, Torres finally broke the team’s scoreless drought with a breakaway goal in the 62nd minute. Torres was set up by Jason Willan whose centering pass from the right flank deflected off a Milwaukee defender into the center of the goal area springing Torres for the goal.
Following the 90 minute regulation with the series tied at 1-1, the match went to overtime. With the series and season on the line the Thunder again looked to Torres for a bit of magic.
In the 92nd minute fellow forward Johnny Menyongar served a long ball from midfield to Torres splitting Milwaukee’s defense. Receiving the ball in full stride, Torres took one touch before firing a low shot into the near side of the net beating Milwaukee goalkeeper Jim Larkin and sending the crowd of 2,649 into a frenzy.
“I was just lucky enough to get a great ball by Johnny (Menyongar),” Torres said of his game-winner.
Although Minnesota controlled the play for most of the first half they were unable to register a goal. In the 24th minute Marco Ferruzzi sent a free kick from 20 yards out to Johnny Torres, but his one-touch shot to the far post was knocked out by a well-positioned Milwaukee defender.
Sunday’s win was typical of the season series against Milwaukee in a big day for Minnesota in border rivalries against Wisconsin teams. The Minnesota Vikings defeated the Green Bay Packers 30-25 earlier in the day. The Thunder and Wave United played eight times this season, with the series tied 4-4.
MIN: Torres 62
MIN: Torres (Menyongar) 92
MIL: Todd Dusosky 84
Referees: Brent Sorg, Mishan Ahmad, Jeff Filipek, Sam Trigui