The Sioux Falls Thunder fell short against Joy St. Louis Park Wednesday evening in St. Louis Park. The beautiful evening bumped Joy (2-2-1) to .500 and dropped the Thunder to 1-3-0.
Joy started strong, taking the lead after just six minutes of play. A free kick just outside the box by Darley Florvil set the tone for the first half, curling past Thunder goalkeeper Federico Simonetti. This goal took the air out of the Thunder, preceding several simple mistakes in the first half.
Those didn’t stop the opportunities from flowing. Pressure from Thunder corners in the 20th and 21st minute gave way to an excellent opportunity for Stevenson Storm, who cranked a long shot that deflected off the keeper’s hands and rebounded from the crossbar. The wood was the enemy of the Thunder yet again in the 42nd minute as another long shot from Kirubel Yerga slipped past Joy keeper Dawson Fairchild and struck the right post. The Thunder entered the second half down one goal.
The Joy once again opened strong after the restart, forcing Simonetti to make two incredible saves in the 48th and 51st minute, divided by an airborne Tyler Limmer effort on the Joy net. That the score remained at 0-1 was a stroke of luck, as the Joy shot with an open goal after the second Simonetti stop missed wide.
A free kick on the corner of the box was the best effort after the break. Solid hands from Fairchild kept the score safe from the well-placed shot. The score shifted in Joy’s favor in the 65th minute. A soaring through ball to Emmanuel Iwe led to a 1-on-1 with Simonetti. The opportunity was too good to pass up, and Iwe lofted the ball pass Simonetti to double their lead.
A chip from Joy defender Xavier Zengue nearly added to that in the 71st minute. This time, the crossbar worked in the Thunder’s favor, sending the ball rolling down the wrong side of the net. Zengue made up for the miss with a finish from a cross in the 85th minute. A scuffle in the 86th minute capped off the game with yellow cards for Joy player Otis Anderson and Thunder player Tyler Limmer.
About the game, Thunder head coach Ryan Beier said, “I thought we played well at times and kept the run of play. We gave ourselves chances to score. Their goalkeeper played well and had some big saves. Their defense was also well organized. We had a few mistakes that gave them goals, but we will continue to work hard to clean some things up.”
The Thunder will play Duluth FC at home on Saturday, June 5th at 7:00 p.m. The game will kickoff a two-game home streak ending with a Thunder rematch against Med City FC on Wednesday, June 9 at 7:00 p.m.