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MSOC: Flyers Rally For 4-2 Win Over UMass
MSOC: Flyers Rally For 4-2 Win Over UMass
Christopher Rieman
Published by Chris R
10-02-2021
Smile MSOC: Flyers Rally For 4-2 Win Over UMass

The Dayton Flyers built a 1-0 halftime lead only to see it vanish in the second half, but three unanswered goals did the job including two late scores to win and ice the game as UD topped UMass 4-2 on Saturday evening at Baujan Field. Dayton snaps a six-game winless streak and improves to 4-5-2 (1-1-0) while the Minutemen fall to 7-3-1 (1-2-0).

Winless over the last three weeks, Dayton entertained UMass with hopes of turning the bad mojo around. The Minutemen came into the match in great form and one of the early favorites in the A10 race. Over the first 15 minutes however, the match was competitive and the Flyers did well to push forward on offense, resulting in dangerous crosses into the UM goal box.

Several set pieces added to UD's chances to play a driving ball towards the 6yd line and while Dayton was never able to poke the ball in the net, there were a handful of loose balls bouncing around that UMass was fortunate to clear away at the last second.

Despite the lack of scoring -- a theme over the six-game slide -- UD controlled a preponderance of the possession as the first half continued. Switching fields after crossing midfield, Dayton attacked weak-side along the flanks attempting to slip a through-ball into the box with the UMass back line retreating out of position. Some of those chances resulted in crosses knocked far post where the ball needed to go, but the off-the-ball runs or finishing was not there. Still, Dayton continued playing the stronger side of soccer and dictate play. UMass had trouble linking together extended periods of possession and the UD back line made it difficult by limiting UMass' clean looks at the Flyer net.

UD's persistence was rewarded in the 35th minute when Geni Kenyane slipped a ball to Kingsford Adjei inside the left portion of the UMass goal box. With his back to goal, Adjei turned with the feed without taking a touch and allowed the ball to lead him behind the Minutemen back line. A setup touch and subsequent poke tucked in nicely to the far right post to give UD a 1-0 lead.

The remaining 10 minutes produced a half-chance or two from each team, but neither goalkeeper was asked to do much.

Halftime stats favored UD 9-8 in shots (UMass led 4-2 in shots on frame) while corner kicks were 3-2 in favor of the Flyers.

UMass picked up the pace to start the second half, demonstrating more urgency and ability to pushed forward into the Flyer defensive third. The hard work didn't take long to produce results as a UD hand ball inside the box cost Head Coach Dennis Currier's squad a PK as UMass evened the match at 1-1 in the 56th minute.

The next 10 minutes were back and forth as neither team challenged the opposing goalkeepers. The run of play flipped between the 18yd boxes as counter-attacks built up but were ultimately snuffed out. UMass received some good fortune in the 66th minute when a poor header clearance deep inside the Flyer box surrendered a free ball from point-blank range. A square pass centered the UMass possession and resulted in an easy redirect that UD goalkeeper Marc Kouadio had no chance on.

Down 2-1 with less than 25 minutes remaining, Dayton had work to do flip the script. Fortunately, it didn't take long. Andy Sanchez cleaned up a deflected ball in the 72nd minute that popped out of the UMass mixer. Alone and with the ball at his feet, he slotted a shot to the lower left side to both even the score at 2-2 and reclaim some much-needed UD momentum after surrendering the halftime lead.

With under 10 minutes left in regulation the run of play gave fans the impression that overtime was looming as both teams committed numbers behind the ball to limit scoring chances. The Flyers earned a free kick from 35yds out in the 86th minute however, an opportunity that proved to be the difference in the match. The Sanchez set piece was played far post where Elias Harryson used his height to redirect the header from 5yds out to give Dayton the 3-2 lead.

UMass nearly tied it at 3-3 in the 87th minute on a free kick from 25yds that ricocheted off the crossbar. The Minutemen pressed hard over the final three minutes to find the equalizer, forcing the Flyers to defend several dangerous balls in the box that Kouadio had to punch or deflect away. UD made no doubt about the outcome in the 89th minute on a midfield jailbreak down the right flank. Adjei dribbled into the box and fed it back across the box to the to the 18yd line where Kenyane one-timed it on the run for the 4-2 lead to put UMass away for good.

Second half stats were 9-8 in favor of UMass while UD earned the only corner kick.

Saturday's victory was perhaps UD's best of the season, in no small part to scoring four goals but also beating a solid UMass team that should make some noise throughout the remainder of the A10 season. After surrendering the 1-0 lead, Dayton answered with three straight goals for the much-needed come-from-behind victory to snap a six-game winless skid.

Overall posture was much better than previous matches. Runs off the ball were more frequent and assertive, while finishing near the box proved crucial -- especially in the second half. The Flyers find themselves in a similar position as Spring 2021 where they struggled in the non-conference and start of A10 play, but caught lightning in a bottle and ultimately won the A10 regular season title. This current team has a long way to go to manufacture the same reversal of fortune again, but the circumstances are eerily similar and if UD wants to make a move in the A10 standings, now is the time to do it after a quality victory to even their conference record.

Dayton travels to Washington, DC, on Wednesday for a 1pm afternoon match with the GW Colonials.
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