Wind and rain marked the season opener for both the Sioux Falls Thunder and Minneapolis City Saturday evening. After a year of no play due to Covid, both teams were eager to see action again and came out strong. The Thunder is under new management and a new coach and looked to play a style with more combination play through the midfield with a group that includes both veterans and several key newcomers.
Their vigor showed in the first half as they held the Crows to 0-0 through the 45 minute mark despite opportunities for both sides. The pivotal moment came in the 41st minute of the first half as Thunder returner Brennan Haggerty was issued a red card for a tackle. The Thunder restarted with 10 men and dug in, but eventually the man advantage was too much and the strong defensive effort was broken in the 53rd minute. Medo Youssef scored with a loose ball he picked up, cutting around a center back and putting it in the net. The second goal came in the 72nd minute on a well-crossed ball from Mark Boquin to Will Kidd for a tap-in. The third insurance goal was in the 84th minute by Miles Stockman-Willis.
Head Coach Ryan Beier had this to say about the game: “I thought we played well for the first game. We had chances to score throughout the first half. Minneapolis City is a very good team and played with good structure. They kept pressure on us in the second half and we were playing a man down. They broke through with a couple goals. When we went forward toward the end of the game, they countered for a third.”
Sioux Falls Thunder will travel to Rochester, Minnesota on Saturday, May 15th to take on Med City FC.