Burnsville Thunder : My Site News

Monday, June 30
Thunder Rolls Over Shakopee...
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The Thunder kept on the winning track with a strong showing over Shakopee, a 4-0 win to wrap up FIREcup play.  Sarah came out of goal to pump in 2 of the goals, with Kristian and Becky adding one apiece.  Again the Thunder moved the ball quickly, found feet, found space, and made great runs off the ball.  In the back, Blaire, Erica, Caitlin and Megan kept Shakopee from ever seriously threatening to score.

 Jenny was honored as Player of the Game for doing all the little things right.  To Jenny the game is an open book, and she constantly is at the right place at the right time, and usually making good decisions when the ball is on her foot.



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Saturday, June 28
Thunder Snuff Out Flames for First Win...
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The Thunder broke into the win column for the first time all year with a convincing 5-0 win over the Bloomington Flames in FIREcup action.  Becky opened the scoring, with Nikki, Mary, Jenny and Ally adding to the tally off assists form Ally, Janika, Katie, Mary and Jenny.  Although the Flames went down to 10 players late in the first half, the Thunder were dominant throughout.  For the first time all season, they were able to string together passes and build a team attack.  Balls were played to feet and there was great movement off the ball.

Player of the Game honors went to Megan L.  Megan was fearless, getting stuck in repeatedly.  She did a beautiful job up top checking back for the ball and finding the right next pass to keep the attack on.



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Saturday, June 28
Thunder Drop Rematch with Dakota Gold...
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In a rematch of the second game of the Dakota Gold tournament, the Thunder fell again to Dakota Gold Rush 3-0 in FIREcup tournament play.  Although the defensive lapses were slight, Dakota Gold was able to capitalize while the Thunder could never connect enough passes to build an attack.

 Mary Reinhardt was simply relentless, challenging all over the field.  Her ferocity and intensity captured her Player of the Game honors.

 



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Friday, June 27
Thunder Battle Blizzard to Tie...
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The Thunder put a full roster on the field for the first time all season in the opening game of the Burnsville FIREcup, with only the nicked up Ali and Kristian not available.  Mary and Jenny joined the team to help out and provide breathers for the regulars.  Early play was a bit disjointed, with solid play in the defensive and middle third but the Thunder not finding connections once they crossed midfield. Coming out of halftime at 0-0, the Thunder quickly fell behind when Bemidji bent in a great corner kick. After a furious rally and several near misses, the Thunder equalized late when Nikki broke down the Bemidji defense and slotted a ball across the goal for Mary to bury.

 Player of the Game went to Nikki.  She gave the Bemidji defense fits all game long, not just with her speed but with her skill and timing as well.  The Blizzard resorted to triple-teaming her as the game wore on, and it was the space that attention created, and her ability to still carry the ball through it and get off a great cross, that led to the equalizer.



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Friday, June 27
Thunder Kicked by Kicks...
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The Northern Blast Kicks out of Aberdeen, SD made it a fruitless weekend for the Thunder, posting a 2-0 victory in the final game of the Dakota Gold Tournament.  The wear and tear of two tough games with minimal subs took its toll on the Thunder players, who had little life in their legs as the game wore on.  To their credit, they never gave up and fought to the end, leaving it on the field.

 The Player of the Game was Ally Chandler.  Ally demonstrated great leadership all weekend, vocally supporting and driving her teammates while fearlessly challenging every ball and carrying it at the defenders relentlessly.



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Friday, June 27
Thunder Get the Bum Rush...
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The Thunder lost their second game of the season to another Dakota Gold team, this time the Rush.  In a very evenly played, but very chippy game both sides had quality chances.  Dakota Gold simply finished more of theirs to earn a 3-1 win.  The overly physical play of the host team marred a beautiful evening for soccer under the lights.

 Sidney Savoy was named Player of the Game.  Sydney came up huge in goal, coming off her line aggressively in heavy traffic to snuff out several Rush rushes.  She made all the saves she was supposed to, plus some she was not.



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Friday, June 27
Thunder Fall to Dakota Gold Alliance....
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In their first outing of the year, the Thunder had a tough game against an organized and aggressive Dakota Gold Alliance. The defending tournament champs never let up en route to a 9-1 thumping of the Thunder.  The lone Thunder goal came when Janika slotted home a penalty kick with authority.  In some tough heat the 10 Thunder players and three guest players fought valiantly, but were outmatched against an experienced opponent in late-season form.

 Player of the Game honors went to Kristian Knutson.  Kristian played with intensity and a high-work rate at both striker and center-mid, playing selfless soccer and making great decisions on and off the ball.



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Thunder Crush Apple Valley...
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It wasn't even close. The Thunder dominated Apple Valley 4-1 en route to the title of State Champion. All night the Thunder were quicker, stronger, smarter and more hungry. The four goals epitomized what we have been working on all year. Anne crossing outside the back post to give Annie a chance to run on and head it past the keeper. Annie passing to Nikki's feet so she could spin out of her mark and pound it home, just like our Finishing Circle. Mary laying off a support pass into Annie's run for a strong shot, just like Around the World. Ally drawing the defense by attacking the front post and slotting a perfectly weighted pass into Jenny's back post run for a quality first touch and back post finish. Great, beautiful soccer. In the entire state, four u16c2 teams earned promotion to c1 in 2006. At this tournament, the Thunder beat 3 of those four; two of them by 3 goal margins and one by 6 goals.

Players of the Game were Annie and Ally. On a field of heroes, both elevated their game to new levels. Annie scored or assisted on the first three Thunder goals and worked end to end all game. Ally found a new gear and attacked everything that moved, wreaking havoc with the Valley defense from forward and center-mid. Like the rest of the team, they both left it on the field.


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Dreams by Van Halen


Thunder Oust Eagan...
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Playing in sweltering heat, the Thunder (in their second game of the day) came out strong against a rested and fresh Eagan team en route to a 3-0 victory in the District Tournament quarterfinals. Eagan never really threatened, and went quietly into that good night. There was no rest for the wicked, though. After a quick subway and Gatorade at the concession tent, the Thunder was straight into their cars for a return trip to USA Cup and a date with Mighty Brazil under the lights.

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Thunder Beat Brazil at Their Own "Beautiful Game"...
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8:30pm kickoff, under the lights, the only game being played on a Friday night at USA Cup. The opponent, a Brazilian team coming off 8 hours of rest while the Thunder are coming off 2 hours rest, 45 minutes of that in a car. 150 screaming chanting, singing, horn-blowing Brazilian fans, every Brazilian at the tournament out to support their country women in the evening showdown. I don't think any of us had any idea what this game would become.

The Thunder had every excuse to cave, to give up, to go through the motions. They were tired, they had already played two full games, the field was ringed with berserk Brazilian fans urging their team on. Then there were the Brazilian players. As you would expect, these young ladies came out and played with individual footskills and flair. What we didn't expect was the fury and physicality of the game. This wasn't soccer; this was war. The first half the Thunder were rocked, but held on tight.

Then Brazil made the mistake of scoring on the Thunder. The sleeping giant was awakened, and carried the game straight at our foreign friends. Minutes later the Thunder equalized off a mad scramble, and the game moved to a whole new level. The teams went at each other like championship heavyweights in a title bout, slugging it out back and forth. Players would come off begging to get back in the game and get at them. The hair on everyone's neck was on end. The fans on both sides were screaming and celebrating and moaning by turn. With minutes left in regulation the Thunder appeared to pound in the game winner off a corner kick, but the Brazilians pointed out there were inadvertently 12 players on the field, and the goal was correctly revoked.

80 minutes of soccer couldn't settle the better team. 10 minutes of overtime couldn't determine the winner. The first five shooters of the shootout left the two teams still knotted at 4 apiece. The sixth shooter for each team missed. But finally, on the seventh round the Thunder converted and Brazil missed and it was over.

There are some games that are so much fun, so intense, so exciting you hate to see them end. The moment is so powerful you want to live in it forever. The lights, the passion of the Brazilian players and fans, the intensity and speed and violence of the game made this one for the ages. After the game the teams mingled and embraced and laughed and cried together as competitors and new found friends who had shared a marvelous evening together playing the game they love at a level they may never experience again. The keepers traded jerseys in a show of mutual respect.

The Player of the Game was Michelle. Michelle was a woman possessed, playing virtually the entire game at outside defense marked up on an exceptionally quick and skilled Brazilian forward. Michelle absolutely shut her down with an entirely new level of play.   Anson Dorrance tells us the most important thing in a soccer player is not skill or fitness or speed or size, but what he calls the "gift of fury." Michelle played with a ferocity that would have sent rabid dogs running away in fear.

England invented the game, but every country has evolved their own style of play. The German precision, the English direct attack, the Dutch total soccer, and the Brazilians who coined the phrase "The Beautiful Game." For the Brazilians, simply winning is never enough, the game must be beautiful, as much art as sport.   Brazilians can be contemptuous not only of other styles of play, but even of their countrymen. World Cup winning coaches have been run out of town because the soccer wasn't beautiful. Creativity on the ball and off the ball, with flair and dynamic attacking soccer are their hallmarks. It is the Brazilian style more than any other the Thunder have been striving for all summer.

After the game, as the teams shook hands, the Brazilian coach, who doesn't speak English, had apparently gone to his translator to learn one phrase. He grabbed both my hands firmly and simply said "beautiful soccer."


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