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WSOC: Flyer Comeback Downs Akron 3-2
WSOC: Flyer Comeback Downs Akron 3-2
C.M. Rieman
Published by Chris R
09-07-2018
Smile WSOC: Flyer Comeback Downs Akron 3-2

DAYTON (OH) -- Dayton surrendered two quick goals, battled back to a 2-2 halftime draw, and won the match in the final 45 minutes to avoid the difficult start and secure their first home victory of the 2018 season. The Flyers improve to 4-2-0 (0-0-0) while the Zips fall to 2-3-1 (0-0-0).

Things couldn't have started worse for Dayton as they came out with a pronounced lack of pace and energy, unable to maintain possession and move the ball forward. Akron countered with an excellent work rate and won a majority of 50/50 challenges over the first five minutes, then capitalized on Dayton's sloppy touches and unforced giveaways in the defensive third to pounce on their first chance of the match in the 7th minute. Getting behind the last defender, GK Kaelyn Johns was forced from her goal mouth to challenge but unable to turn the shot away. Up 1-0, the Zips weren't done.

Continuing to win possession and play with a greater sense of urgency, Akron once again caused the Flyers all kinds of problems in the defensive half, forcing the UD to foul when out of position to slow down the Zip offense. Akron capitalized again in the 14th minute after being taken down in the box. They polished off the resulting PK to the lower left post to go up 2-0 and put UD on life support with most of the match yet to play.

Fortunately, UD crawled back -- at times in spite of themselves and not because. Continuing to struggle with first touches, accurate passing, and sustained possession, the Flyers cashed in on a counter-attack down the left flank that erased -- at least some -- of the struggles of the first half. Nadia Pestell overlapped down the touch line and placed a cross in the box that found Quincy Kellett lurking on a near-post run. The ball ultimately squirmed far post where Micayla Livingston finished in the 22nd minute to cut the deficit to 2-1.

Another Flyer counter-attack against the overall run of play helped even the match. Izzy Greene jumped on a late ball behind the Zip back line and sprinted forward into open space, forcing the Zip goalkeeper to venture out from her box for a one vs one challenge. Juking past her and finishing the jaunty angle to an open net from 15yds out tied the match at 2-2 in the 33rd minute.

With the match once again evened up on the scoreboard, UD avoided first half disaster and put themselves in a solid position to eventually take control. While no further goals were score before intermission, the Flyers carried much of of the momentum into the locker room.

The team with the fastest start to the second half would probably seize control of the match, but both teams took a while to regroup after halftime and find a consistent rhythm. Dayton had an early chance at the far post just minutes after the restart to take the 3-2 lead, but couldn't poke it in. The resuming run of play remained choppy and staccato as unforced giveaways and poor first touches kept either side from moving forward with numbers. Distribution was usually too short or too long, one- and two-touch passing the exception, and weak-side service not in the cards.

Dayton took advantage of another Pestell overlap in the 69th minute when she fed a dangerous cross in the box that found the feet of Magalie Depot. Livingston cleaned up the back-pass to the far post to put the Flyers up 3-2.

Moments later Sara Robertson went down on a non-contact play, grabbing her knee in pain despite eventually hobbling off the field on her own power. The severity of the injury is unknown but didn't look good and Robertson did not return to the match.

The remaining 15 minutes of play went back and forth as scoring chances usually came on quick counter-attacks rather than sustained buildup through the midfield. To their credit, the UD back line ultimately kept the Zips off the scoreboard in the second half after coming out of hibernation. Dayton had a couple other excellent chances to extend the lead late in the match but couldn't finish opportunities.

UD outshot Akron 16-7 including 10-6 in shots on goal. Corner kicks were 5-3 in favor of the Flyers.

Overall, Dayton earned the result they were looking for and also perhaps demonstrated some resolve, but the level of soccer was perhaps the worst combination of effort and execution all season -- certainly at Baujan Field. The Zips were rewarded for their hard work but otherwise offered little in the way of dynamic playmakers on offense or defense to warranty a two-goal lead against the Flyers. In short, UD got away with one on Friday night, but that level of play will get them exposed against an infinitely better side on Sunday against Florida Gulf Coast -- a program routinely vying for NCAA at-large bids. Dayton has 36 hours to figure something out.
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