One goal enough for Thunder

The Rochester Thunder had just six goals in six matches entering Sunday’s contest against the Thunder Bay Chill at Rochester Regional Sports Stadium.

They had been blanked in their last two games and scored a total of just one goal in three home games.

While Thunder coach Neil Cassidy didn’t receive the offensive explosion for which he’s been waiting, he did finally see his team put the ball in the net on its home pitch. And he’s hoping that tally will open the floodgates.

The Thunder bounced back from Saturday night’s 2-0 loss for a 1-0 blanking of the Chill on Sunday.

In the match’s sixth minute, it appeared the Thunder might still be in their finishing funk.


Miguel Bonilla clanked a point-blank chance off the right post.

"(On Saturday), we had one of the post, we had one off the crossbar, we had one disallowed, and that was all in the first 16 minutes," Cassidy said. "But I told the boys (Sunday), to keep with the game plan, keep doing what we’ve been doing, and we’ll get a goal."

That goal came only a few minutes after Bonilla’s bad break.

A Thunder player was fouled about 30 yards from the Chill goal.

Samuel Asanti took the free kick, and lifted the ball perfectly toward midfielder Chris Andre.

Andre was able to slip in past the defenders, and he headed the ball over the Thunder Bay keeper.

The ball hit the crossbar, but this time it bounced into the net.

"It’s great to finally score in front of our fans and get a good performance under our belts," Andre said. "Asanti hit a great free kick, and I got behind the defense, and I just hit it right over their keeper. It was nice to get a good goal like that in front of the fans."


The match was physical from the opening whistle. Myriad yellow cards were issued, and in the second half, Thunder Bay’s William Zardetto was sent off with a red card.

The physical play from Thunder Bay was expected, and Cassidy’s game plan was to match that physicality.

"Thunder Bay is always going to be tough and physical," Cassidy said. "But our game plan was to stick with them with that, and disrupt their game as much as they were trying to disrupt ours. I thought we were outstanding."

Rochester’s defenders were sharp Sunday. Quality scoring chances were rare for Thunder Bay.

The few clear chances the Chill did generate were quickly gobbled up by Rochester keeper Jordan Kadlec.

"Defensively, we were solid. Everything was tight," Cassidy said. "Again, the game plan we asked the guys to do, they did. I’m very proud of them."

The game’s physical play boiled over briefly shortly before the half. Players from both teams exchanged words and shoves in the middle of the pitch, and more yellow cards were issued.

Most of the fouls took place in the middle of the pitch, so free kicks rarely led to scoring real scoring chances.


After the Thunder grabbed their 1-0 lead, the defense took over. Cassidy said in the final five minutes of the game, the Thunder’s primary objective became preserving the lead.

"Tactically, we just wanted to take up all the gaps, and we went a little more defensive," Cassidy said.

Andre believes Sunday’s victory will lead to more wins and added confidence for the Thunder.

"We were a lot more organized, and it showed in the results," Andre said. "We finally got a bounce to go our way, and we were very happy with it."

The Thunder improved to 3-2-2 overall. They return to action at 7 p.m. Friday at home against the Real Colorado Foxes.

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