Hamilton Spectator - Hamilton Thunder impress in the first game

Thunder impress in first game
May. 13, 2002. 01:06 AM
By Theresa Macinnis

Special to The Hamilton Spectator
He doesn't have as far to drive west on the Queen Elizabeth Way this season, but Danny Gallagher has other reasons to play for the Hamilton Thunder.

Gallagher chose to play in Hamilton instead of St. Catharines, because he sees promise in the first professional soccer team to call Hamilton home in 11 years.

"I chose this team for the potential, we have a talented team. The coaching staff and owner have a great vision and that's what I want to be a part of," said Gallagher who resides in Burlington.

The Hamilton Thunder lost their first exhibition game here 1-0 to the visiting Toronto Lynx Saturday. The game was decided when Brian Ashton of the Lynx successfully netted a penalty kick with just over five minutes remaining in the game.

"It was a great game today, very exciting in the second half," said Gallagher. "If we don't finish our chances we won't win games. It's sad to see a game decided on a penalty shot, but that's the game and we'll learn from it."

This was Hamilton's first home game as a team. "I think we jelled pretty well. We've still got a bit to do, but I think the talent is there and we will come together."

Gallagher and a few other players were with St. Catharines, also of the 14-team Canadian Professional Soccer League, before making the move to the Thunder this year.

"We saw the potential here for a great club and a great future and we are very excited about this team."

"It's definitely exciting to see something in Hamilton again. The city has a good past for soccer, it's just unfortunate that it's never worked out."

Roberto Ferrari is playing in his inaugural season with the CPSL. After playing youth soccer in Ontario, the Woodbridge native went on to play international calibre soccer in countries such as Chile and Croatia.

"We've been practising for almost a year now, getting ready for this and we are really thankful to the fans. They really showed their support for the first game."

He said it was unfortunate they got a bad call late in the game, but they are really impressed with the way the team is playing and its going to be a successful season.

"This team has something special the other teams don't have. We have excellent coaching, and it's like a big family."

He said Canadian Soccer has been lacking support and the right structure and there are few teams like this one that are showing the European and South American style.

Coach Marko Maschke said Saturday's game against Toronto was a very good test for his young team because the Lynx are the number one team in Ontario.

"We were a little bit nervous in the first half. In the second half we controlled the game and had some nice scoring chances.

"Unfortunately, we missed them, but it's more important that both teams have an exhibition test game before the big game."

Maschke coached for three years in the professional league in China, and is happy to be coaching in Hamilton.

It's a fantastic soccer city, with a lot of history with the Steelers and the White Eagles. "It's time that a new soccer team is coming to the city and I think we bring a quality product to the field."

He said the Thunder is talented, but also very young. "We have an average age of less than 22 years and they have to learn a little bit." But he thinks they will play a major role in the league and Saturday was a very good audition.

The home opener is scheduled for May 23 at 8:30 p.m. against the Vaughn Sun Devils at Brian Timmis Stadium. A crowd of approximately 2,000 attended this exhibition match.

Despite pre-season loss, young soccer club shows promise

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