WAUKEGAN, Ill. - The Idaho Thunder under-17 boys soccer team held its own against the Illinois Eclipse in regular run of play Friday.
But the Eclipse scored twice in the first half off corner kicks, and went on to edge the Thunder 2-1 in the first game of the U.S. Club Soccer National Cup XI Finals at Waukegan Sports Park in suburban Chicago.
"They just outmuscled us in the box," Thunder coach Briggs Anderson said. "If I had to rate the game on a scale of 1 to 10, I'd give us a six. We came out really hard, and we stopped them in the field of play."
Mason Sanchez scored in the 50th minute for the Thunder, assisted by Graison Le.
"In the game we probably had about nine opportunities to score, and only put one in," Anderson said.
Anderson praised the play of defensive center midfielder Jake Nelson from Mountain View High in Meridian, and center back Jake Kraut, a Coeur d'Alene resident who attends Gonzaga Prep.
The Thunder has two games remaining in its Super Group pool, starting today vs. Lake Grove United from New Jersey at 12:15 p.m. PDT. The Thunder likely needs two wins and some help from other teams to reach Monday's title game.