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Dayton MSOC and ETSU in 1-1 2OT Draw
Dayton MSOC and ETSU in 1-1 2OT Draw
Christopher Rieman
Published by Chris R
08-25-2017
Smile Dayton MSOC and ETSU in 1-1 2OT Draw

The Dayton Flyers opened the 2017 regular season on Friday evening with a hard-fought 1-1 2OT draw against East Tennessee State. Thor Helgason finished a Rok Taneski cross in the box late in regulation to tie the game at 1-1. Two overtimes went scoreless despite each side having good chances. The Flyers and Bucs are 0-0-1 on the season.

The beginning of the match was a rough start for the Flyers, a retooled group after major offseason roster additions and deletions. Unable to settle in and generate sustained possession, ETSU did well to control the run of play over much of the first half. Working the ball through the midfield and touchlines, the Bucs utilized simple but effective triangle passing to find small but meaningful gaps between the 18s. The good work created some soft spots in the Flyer defense -- usually around 30 yards from goal. Dayton was forced to buckle down in the their defensive third to slow the ETSU offensive push and to their credit did just enough to keep the match scoreless for an extended period.

ETSU's persistence finally paid off in the 30th minute after sending a ball to the far post that bounced without a defensive clearance. Flyer GK Federico Barrios tried to salvage what was left of a botched play but ETSU poked the loose ball in the net to take a 1-0 lead.

Dayton continued to struggled with possession over the last 15 minutes of the first half. Without the ball, they couldn't create a meaningful offensive push either. Most of the plays consisted of long balls toward the corner flags and while they did stretch ETSU's back line a few times, the Bucs never looked out of shape or seriously threatened.

Halftime stats favored ETSU in shots 5-2 and corner kicks 2-1.

The second half started much like the first half ended. UD continued to chase the run of play and had trouble knocking multiple passes around as they dealt with ETSU's ball pressure. Dayton lacked a filter in the center circle to run possession through and distribute to the wings, necessitating some additional long balls from the back line to Flyer forwards sprinting for the touch lines. For another half hour it just didn't seem like a winning formula.

Conversely, ETSU continued to dink passes in the attacking third and tried to release a player behind the final Flyer defender on a number of occasions. When they succeeded, Barrios was there with big-time saves to keep the Flyers in the match. When the Bucs couldn't thread a ball at all, credit went to the outside backs in the Flyer defense for turning those chances away entirely.

As the Dayton defense kept the match within reach, the offense needed to catch a break. Unfortunately the exact opposite occurred in the 75th minute when Alvaro Navarro received a straight red card for (apparently) deliberate contact to the face of an ETSU player. The whistle seemed over-reaching as both players were jockeying for position on the ball. Down a man with 15 minutes remaining, it wasn't looking good.

It wasn't great soccer over the next 10 minutes and the Flyers seemed destined for a 1-0 defeat, but UD found lightning in a bottle when Rok Taneski turned on the jets and produced a 50yd dribble-drive down the left touch line that left several ETSU players in quicksand. He turned the corner and placed a ball in the box for Thor Helgason running hard toward goal. Helgason beat his defender with a nifty redirect into the net to tie the match at 1-1.

From there on, Dayton played their best soccer of the night -- despite doing it 10 vs 11. The work rate was excellent and their best scoring chances in the run of play were generated over the last five minutes of regulation and 20 minutes of overtime. Neither side cashed in to win the game on a golden goal, but the Flyers had the better run of play over the final 15 minutes of soccer -- not necessarily because the soccer was high-level but due to their hustle and ability to generate some quality half-chances.

Match stats ended 14-8 in shots and 6-3 in corner kicks -- both in favor of ETSU. Dayton managed only two shots on goal in 110 minutes and that's not nearly enough to get the job done looking ahead to their next match against Ft. Wayne on Sunday afternoon. A lack of quality possession, some loose marking in the midfield, and a need for more dynamic playmaking held UD back for much of Friday's game. That said, their work ethic was excellent and they never threw in the towel despite the frustration. Barrios provided an inspiring performance in goal and -- all things considered -- salvaging a point against a solid opponent given all the hurdles should be considered a good starting point to the season.
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