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MSOC: Mountaineers Shoot Down Flyers 2-0
MSOC: Mountaineers Shoot Down Flyers 2-0
C.M. Rieman
Published by Chris R
09-22-2018
Smile MSOC: Mountaineers Shoot Down Flyers 2-0

DAYTON (OH) -- The West Virginia Mountaineers tallied a goal in each half and spent the rest of the match frustrating the Dayton Flyers with physical play and passing-lane pickoffs, dropping UD 2-0 in front of 955 fans at Baujan Field -- the largest crowd of the season. The cool temperatures signaled the beginning of Autumn and made for perfect conditions, but the Flyers couldn't manufacture quality shots on frame and wrap up summer in style. UD falls to 4-2-3 (0-0-0) while WVU improves to 5-3-0 (0-0-0).

The first five minutes were a great start for the Flyers, pushing numbers forward and finding space along the weak-side touch lines. The push forward and subsequent pursuit by West Virginia defenders was a strong signal that the Flyers came to play. Balls toward the corner flags generated a number of crosses in the WVU goal box, but none of them found Flyer targets and were ultimately turned away by the WVU back line or Mountaineer goalkeeper lurking in the box.

As the match continued, workspace on the field came at more of a premium. West Virginia tightened up and did a fantastic job of clogging passing lanes, fighting for loose balls, and disrupting Dayton's offensive rhythm. Their physical play knocked UD off ball possession or prevented the Flyers from dispossessing WVU players altogether. While the Flyers weren't being dominated, they were unable to generate quality chances on frame in the offensive third. The run of play routinely bogged down near the Mountaineer goal box as space became limited. WVU kept numbers behind the ball, marked up, and stepped into passing lanes to pick off balls and extinguish those Dayton scoring threats.

The Mountaineers found the net in the 35th minute on a free kick from 30yds out that bounced around in the mixer and was ultimately put away for the 1-0 WVU advantage. UD goalkeeper Federico Barrios challenged the initial cross, but ran into bodies inside his six-yard line and couldn't recover to the defensive line of his choice to turn the rebound away.

Rok Taneski used his foot speed to attack the left flank when given opportunities with the ball at his feet, but neither he or anyone else could get clean looks to put quality shots on frame over the remaining minutes of the 1st half.

WVU nursed a 1-0 halftime lead to the locker room despite being out-shot 11-4.

The Flyers were strong enough to score an equalizer in the 2nd half, so optimism remained high. They'd need more dynamic playmaking however and become less predictable in the final third; the Mountaineer defense was too organized to make a fatal mistake by defending the basics.

Unfortunately, the dynamism was few and far between over the remaining 45 minutes of play. The Flyers generated a bit more possession and perhaps won the battle of possession altogether after the halftime restart, but some of it lacked purpose or too many players weren't on the same page. That said, UD's overall effort remained very high and work rate was not much of an issue over the course of the match.

West Virginia ultimately controlled the things that mattered: the scoreboard and the ability to keep dangerous Flyer scoring chances to an absolute minimum. As long as they kept defending well, eating clock, and frustrating UD's offense, there wasn't much Dayton could do to tie the match up or even pull off the come-from-behind victory.

WVU put the match out of reach in the 73rd minute after capitalizing on a Dayton miscue in the final third. Barrios came out from his goal box in a last-ditch effort to defend the counter, but couldn't pull off the heroics as the Mountaineers went up 2-0.

Taneski hit the crossbar on a shot late in the match, following an earlier Flyer chance just minutes prior when UD had a breakaway in the WVU goal box with only the goalkeeper to beat. Like other chances however, the opportunities were squandered and not nearly enough in numbers to make an honest difference anyway.

For the match, UD out-shot WVU 18-7, but shots on goal were 4-3 in favor of the Mountaineers. Corner kicks were 2-2. Dayton also created a number of free-kick chances stemming from long balls in the box, but the lack of shots on frame to challenge the WVU goalkeeper proved to be the difference. Taneski tallied 7 shots himself but placed just one on frame -- a testament to WVU's solid defending over 90 minutes of play. Last year's leading scorer, Taneski has yet to score or assist through nine matches in 2018.

On-field vision was a struggle over the last 75 minutes of play. Dayton continually lost eyesight of weak-side players with tons of open space to attack with pace, but service was mostly non-existent. For much of the game, possession typically played down the same side of the field the ball was initially commandeered.

Dayton returns to action on Wednesday, Sep. 26, against Northern Kentucky in the final non-conference match of the season. Game time is 7pm at Baujan Field.
__________________

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