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MSOC: UD Suffers First Loss as SLU Wins 3-1
MSOC: UD Suffers First Loss as SLU Wins 3-1
Christopher Rieman
Published by Chris R
Exclamation MSOC: UD Suffers First Loss as SLU Wins 3-1

The #19 Dayton men's soccer team entertained the Saint Louis Billikens at Baujan Field in a pivotal A10 match for both teams. A late goal before halftime gave SLU the 1-0 lead at the break and two more scores just minutes after the restart did the damage in a 3-1 victory over the Flyers. The loss was UD's first of the season and drops their overall record to 9-1-4 (3-1-3) while the Billikens improve to 9-4-1 (5-1-1).

Unseasonably mild temperatures in the low-70s made for outstanding late October conditions as both teams looked to separate themselves from one another in the battle for A10 supremacy. Not surprisingly, the match began with high pace and energy throughout as both teams demonstrated speedy play while pushing forward into their respective offenses. Dayton did well to generate more possession early on, moving well on and off the ball to keep the run of play moving with efficiency. Advancing into the SLU defensive third, the Flyers tried combination play in tight spaces alongside long-ball crosses into the box to put early pressure on the Billiken back line.

Saint Louis retaliated with quick counters on long balls to players running into space, good enough to create a couple half-chances and a corner kick that led to redirects on frame from short-range. Dayton goalkeeper Dario Caetano was there to snuff out the danger.

Dayton nearly went up 1-0 on a header at the far post after winning a corner kick, but the ball found the side netting. A couple subsequent set piece opportunities were also turned away. On the other end of the field, a poor giveaway 40yds out created a 2v1 marking disadvantage as the Billikens walked it into the Flyer goal mouth with only Caetano to beat. Amazingly, Caetano snuffed it out from point-blank range to turn away an otherwise certain SLU goal.

The last 20 minutes of the first half grew more competitive and Dayton's early possession advantage slowly faded as SLU did better with tracking and distribution to set up their own counter-strikes. The potent Flyer offense -- currently leading the nation in shots per game (22.54) -- showed some frustration at times as they encroached on the SLU goal box, unable to find a clean open look for a shot on frame or subsequent pass to a teammate isolating a defender on an island.

Dayton's attempts to play out of the back against quality SLU pressure eventually turned problematic over the remaining 10 minutes. Numerous giveaways turned into SLU counter-attacks that placed the Flyer defense in precarious situations. The loose play would later cost UD a goal after another giveaway surrendered a set-piece opportunity that resulted in a cross-and-header at the far post in the 39th minute.

Down 1-0, UD almost got it back moments later when Ousseynou Cisse got loose inside the box, cut to his right foot, and bent a shot to the upper-90 of the far post that beat the Billiken goalkeeper but ultimately caromed off the crossbar.

Halftime stats favored SLU in shots 9-4 and corner kicks 3-2. The Flyers failed to generate a single shot on goal in the entire first half, further underscoring the offensive woes once UD pushed into the final third.

The Flyers needed a strong start to the second half but Saint Louis knotted a goal less than a minute after the restart to put the Flyers down 2-0. The Bills made it 3-0 in the 53rd minute on a nice buildup inside the Dayton goal box that left Alberto Suarez open for a strike inside the box that ricocheted off the bottom of the crossbar and into the net.

In a position not seen all season, Dayton had almost 40 minutes to regain a modicum of respect even if the result was foregone. The Bills continued to play stifling defense however and limit UD's scoring chances around their own goal box. SLU eliminated passing lanes with tight marking and a compact shape that frustrated the Flyer attack for the remainder of the match. With their first defeat of the season all but assured, perhaps whatever wind in the sails that remained had also vanished with the offense.

Dayton managed to punch a ball into the back of the net with 17 minutes remaining, but a hand ball in the box negated Cisse's goal. Cisse would get a second chance in the 77th minute and finish at the far post on a redirect to make the score 3-1. It was too little/too late however and despite a few more desperate crosses into the SLU goal box, the match concluded with UD's first loss on the season.

Second half shots flipped decidedly in the second half as UD secured a 12-3 advantage -- including 6-0 on corner kicks. The match came down to capitalizing on chances and SLU converted 3 of 5 shots on goal while Dayton managed just 1 of 4. The Flyers were outplayed in the most dangerous parts of the field and failed to generate great scoring chances for most of the match. At best, SLU surrendered half-chances and even those were few and far between. The loss is not time to panic as the Flyers have shown better form during the season and done enough to avoid defeats until Saturday evening. At the same time, the last month of soccer has been plagued by inconsistency -- ties to A10 bottom-feeders St. Joseph's and St. Bonaventure but also a tie to then #2 Kentucky on the road. The early successes and great scoring chances have dried up a bit and runs off the ball are not quite what they were. Those runs affect speed of play and subsequently the ability to generate dangerous scoring opportunities in free space.

UD steps outside the conference for the last time this season with a Tuesday Oct. 25th match against Detroit Mercy at Baujan Field. Kickoff is 7pm.

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

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