The Sioux Falls Thunder visited Rochester, MN, and the Med City Mayhem on Saturday night for a 7 pm kickoff for our first road match of the new season. After the long drive the Thunder came out of the gate a little more slowly and struggled to find their rhythm for much of the half. Med City looked like the side that hadn't just traveled four hours and were lifted by a nice-sized home crowd.
As the half wore on both sides found some chances but Med City definitely had the run of play and goalkeeper Mitchell (Mitch) Dryden was kept busy. The first half finished in a scoreless draw. The Thunder came out in the second half and responded to head coach Ryan Beier's team talk. Effort and organization shined thru as the Thunder created more chances and took some control of the game. The first goal of the match was the unfortunate result of a misplay that Med City took advantage of. The Thunder responded and continued to press the Mayhem in search of the equalizer. In the second half, Med City did find a few opportunities on set pieces. Thunder keeper Mitch Dryden made two fantastic saves and got a little help from his right upright on the third attempt.
As the match continued the Thunder's Brennan Haggerty nearly found the equalizer in the 75th minute with a low worm burner from 22 yards out that just missed the lower corner. Haggerty continued to menace the Med City defense and was eventually pulled down in the box in the 88th minute. Thunder captain Tyler Limmer stepped up and buried the ensuing penalty kick to even the score at 1-1. The Thunder continued to press for the winner in the remaining minutes and forced two more saves from the Mayhem keeper prior to the final whistle.
Head coach Ryan Beier had this to say about the game: "It was a tough start on the road. First half we kind of chased the game. They had opportunities, but Mitchell kept it scoreless. Second half we adjusted and had much more possession, gave up a goal on a misplayed ball, but recovered and kept pushing to get the equalizer. We look forward to keep building momentum with the group we have, and now should have them all back home to train."
The Thunder will be back in action on Saturday, the 21st of May at Harrisburg High School, Tiger Stadium to take on Minneapolis City FC.
Thanks to goalkeeper coach Jack Fehrenz for his contribution to this recap and Rylee Fehrenz for the photos.