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2nd Half Explosion Lifts Flyers Over Oakland 6-2
2nd Half Explosion Lifts Flyers Over Oakland 6-2
Christopher Rieman
Published by Chris R
Smile 2nd Half Explosion Lifts Flyers Over Oakland 6-2

Dayton and Oakland played a 2-2 first half stalemate, leaving the second half to decide the outcome. No problem. Dayton scored four times after intermission to blitz Oakland 6-2 on Wednesday evening at Baujan Field. The Flyers improve to 3-4-2, while the Grizz fall to 2-6-0.

The Flyers dominated the opening minutes of the match with quicker feet to loose balls that allowed for movement into the attacking third. The Grizz had trouble gaining and holding possession as UD knocked the ball around for gaps in the OU back line. Several good scoring chances were created inside the Oakland goal box, culminating in a low cross from the left side that squibbed through to the right post. Alvaro Navarro was there to tap in the easy finish from 5yds to give the Flyers a 1-0 lead just five minutes after kickoff. Rok Taneski got credited for the assist.

Dayton kept the pressure on and hit the post shortly after the re-start, but an Oakland counter-attack -- their first real movement into the Flyer defensive half of the field thus far -- resulted in an unfortunate hand ball in the box just inside the 18 that earned OU a penalty kick they ultimately capitalized on to tie the match at 1-1 in the 13th minute.

While the cheap equalizer was a bad break, the Flyers still had the confidence of knowing they were playing the better soccer of the two squads. If they put the PK behind them, things would be fine.

That didn't happen however -- at least initially -- as Oakland scored again just 3 minutes later with a counter-attacking cross into the box from the left side. The Grizz' Austin Ricci finished at the right post on a beautiful half-volley to put Oakland ahead 2-1 and flip the tenor of the match -- or so it seemed. It was Ricci's second goal of the half after completing the earlier PK.

Oakland surrendered a set piece to the Flyers in the 22nd minute and paid the price for it. The 30yd ball was sent to the far left post, deflected, and redirected in the goal by Nick Hagenkord from 3yds out to tie the match at 2-2.

With four first half goals, decent defending was at a premium as most of the goals were preventable with a good clearance and tidier marking. The remaining 20 minutes of the half were wide open as both teams continued to push quickly into open spaces to catch defenders out of position. UD worked the touch lines to find triangle passing angles to free players for unimpeded crosses in the box. Results were mixed, in part due to a lack of bodies in the box to finish those chances. Oakland was most dangerous on quick counters with a shortened field and limited numbers, but neither side could take a lead into the locker room.

Halftime stats favored UD in shots 11-5 and corner kicks 4-1. Barrios made just one save while Oakland GK Sulli Lauderdale had five.

The second half started off slow but eventually heated up for the Flyers as they found the net twice in a span of two minutes to break the game wide open. Thor Helgason cleaned up a Rok Taneski ball inside the box in the 61st minute to make the score 3-2. Moments later Oakland was whistled inside the box for a PK that senior James Haupt subsequently finished to put Dayton up 4-2 and firmly in command.

UD made the score 5-2 in the 71st minute on a terrific 3/4 field dribble-drive counterattack by Jonas Fjeldberg along the left side. He drew two defenders the length of the field, opening up the box for Haupt lurking in front of the net. Fjeldberg got the cross to the far post for Haupt to collect and finish near-post to effectively stick a fork in Oakland's chances to earn a result. And yet the Flyers weren't finished.

Navarro finished a nifty one-two combination inside the box with Helgason in the 88th minute that resulted in a toe-poke past the GK at the near post to finish the scoring at 6-2.

Overall, UD out-shot Oakland 21-12 -- including 13-5 on frame. Oakland managed to earn a few corner kicks in the second half to end the match with a 5-4 advantage. Haupt and Navarro each tallied a brace, while Taneski added three assists on the night. Helgason finished with a goal and assist. With that much scoring, there were a lot of stats to toss around, but it was UD's best collective 90 minutes in nearly two weeks. Aside from an unfortunate and fluky handball in the box and one defensive miscue in the run of play, the Flyers were solid in most phases and were the better side over the course of the 1st and 2nd half.

They showed some character too. After taking the early 1-0 lead and falling behind 2-1 just minutes later, Dayton responded with five unanswered goals to skin the Grizz of any remaining hide.

Tempering the victory a bit remains the undeniable reality that OU is not a post-season club and will struggle to finish close to .500 this year. But they did play #12 Western Michigan and #19 SMU to one-goal games. At this point however, the Flyers needed something to feel good about after three straight shutout losses and Wednesday night's result will go along way toward building confidence in the remaining non-league match of the season.

UD returns to action on Saturday Sept. 23, when they travel to Morgantown to play West Virginia (RV) in the final non-conference tuneup before A10 play begins.

C. M. Rieman | Publisher | 937.361.4630 | Get the latest here:

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