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MSOC: Flyers Win Fourth Straight; Top Dukes 2-0
MSOC: Flyers Win Fourth Straight; Top Dukes 2-0
Christopher Rieman
Published by Chris R
10-23-2019
Smile MSOC: Flyers Win Fourth Straight; Top Dukes 2-0

Fighting to stay in contention for a postseason A10 tourney berth, the Dayton Flyers men’s soccer team secured their fourth A10 victory in a row by defeating the Duquesne Dukes 2-0 on a cool late October evening at Baujan Field. UD improves to 9-7-0 (3-3-0), while DU falls to 8-6-2 (3-3-0). Jona Fjeldberg scored the first goal and assisted on the second to provide the bulk of the offensive punch.

The Flyers and Dukes entered Thursday’s match in a four-way tie for fourth place in the A10 standings, which should make for an exciting finish to the conference season. With no cushion to spare, going easy against the Dukes was never an option in order to pocket one of the Top-8 seeds and secure another important head-to-head tiebreaker advantage.

The UD offense has been firing on all cylinders of late, much of it from the play of Fjeldberg and freshman Toluwalese Oladeino. Fjeldberg is working on a potential A10 Offensive Player of the Year award while Oladeinbo is perhaps the favorite for A10 Rookie of the Year. Both came into the match with eight goals on the season – best in the A10.

It was Fjeldberg who got things started in the opening moments of the match, gathering a ball near midfield and dribble-driving down the center of the pitch for a feed in the box to a teammate filling along the right side. The subsequent shot hit the far post and bounced away, saving the Dukes from going down 1-0 in the first five minutes of the game.

Fjeldberg put the Flyers up in the 18th minute after a counter-attack resulted in a deflected ball directly in front of the Duquesne goal box that was one-timed past Dukes’ GK Robbie McKelvey to give the Flyers the early 1-0 lead.

The Dukes responded well after the restart, pushing forward and playing several dangerous balls into the Flyer goal box that resulted in quality chances directly in front of the net. The Dukes just missed on a far-side flick and a free-kick redirect, but they made Flyer GK Federico Barrios aware of their presence.

Dayton had a great chance in the 25th minute to extend the lead when Duquesne was whistled for an obvious hand ball in the box, but the resulting PK attempt cleared the crossbar to let the Dukes off the hook as the score remained 1-0. Had UD converted, the Dukes may half folded their tent.

UD continued to push players forward as overlaps from the back-line players opened up space along the flanks for teammates to either dish wide or cut inside for the dribble-drive. The Flyers almost scored on a through-ball later in the half that skirted past the Dukes’ defenders, but the subsequent cross wasn’t finished with ideal contact and the shot scooted wide of the far post. Other crosses in the box were either too short or long and failed to find teammates in a spot to collect and shoot on frame. The Flyers were putting in solid work and creating solid goal-scoring chances, but actual shots on frame remained a bit problematic.

Halftime stats were dominated by UD in shots 15-2 (5-1 on goal), while the Flyers took the only corner kick. While Dayton controlled the run of play and deserved two or three goals, the failed PK conversion kept the Dukes in the match and made the second half relevant.

Both teams knocked the ball around in the first 10 minutes of the second half, but UD slowly took command once again and found gaps in the Duquesne defensive half to exploit the space provided. Fjeldberg won a big-time 50/50 ball in the central third with his quick feet, created space, then slotted a back-door ball to Kingsford Adjei in the 60th minute for to put UD up 2-0 and in firm control of the match.

Duquesne’s best scoring opportunities were on quick counter-attacks trying to catch the Flyer defensive unit off guard or a bit sloppy. That almost happened later in the second half on a UD giveaway in the defensive half that resulted on a long counter off the dribble. Cole Watkins tracked it well and narrowed space to force an off-balance shot that Barrios saved without much trouble.

The Flyers continued to make quality runs off the ball to maintain control of the match. Traditional give-and-go’s, overlaps, and old-fashioned hustle forced Duquesne to chase possession for extended periods as Dayton salted more clock away with quality tag-team touches in confined spaces to get themselves out of trouble. A few more scoring opportunities came and went as time ran out.

Overalls shots were 21-9 in favor of UD while shots on goal were 9-3. Corner kicks were 2-1 as well.

UD passed the ball well and made purposeful runs when opportunities allowed. The Flyers also did a great job of using the long ball out of the back to switch possession to the weak side of play to open up additional attacking space in the offensive half. Fjeldberg remains in peak form and with another goal and assist tonight, will stay atop the A10 scoring leaderboard. He did nothing to hurt his case for A10 Offensive Player of the Year tonight.

Defensively, UD did just enough to secure the shutout and while there were some loose marks at times on Duquesne transitions, Barrios had his back-line players (and the far post) covered on every Duquesne shot.

The Flyers hit the road for a match at St, Joseph’s (PA) on Saturday. Kickoff is 7pm.
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