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MSOC: Flyers Blank UMass 2-0 for Fourth Straight Shutout
MSOC: Flyers Blank UMass 2-0 for Fourth Straight Shutout
Christopher Rieman
Published by Chris R
09-28-2019
Smile MSOC: Flyers Blank UMass 2-0 for Fourth Straight Shutout

The Dayton Flyers menís soccer team extended their winning streak to four matches with a hard-fought 2-0 victory over the UMass Minutemen in the A10 season opener on Saturday evening at Baujan Field. Lauren Aug scored twice in the second half to secure the victory. It was Daytonís fourth shutout victory in a row Ė the first time the program has achieved four blank sheets in winning fashion since 2006. Dayton improves to 5-4-0 (1-0-0) while UMass falls to 4-5-0 (0-1-0).

The opening minutes of the match were played in the defensive half of the Flyer real estate as UMass pushed forward with numbers. UD cleaned things up defensively but struggled when playing the ball out of the back on goal-kick restarts. The emphasis on possession and playing to feet from GK Federico Barrios made sense, but UMass countered with high-ball pressure to pinch against the Dayton players attempting to move the ball forward. Subsequently, the Flyers had little in the way of sustained possession early on and few dangerous chances in the Minutemen goal box.

A handful of giveaways in the defensive half of the field also slowed UDís attack as the match continued, allowing UMass to counter with space and force the Flyer back line to retreat and defend in vulnerable positions. UMass was a step sharper with passing and open-field ball movement, doing a better job of leveraging the width of the field to create gaps to maneuver.

Offensively, Dayton lacked the overlapping runs from the back line that fans have gotten accustomed to in recent matches, but by mid-way through the half UD did a better job of pushing players forward in space. The first quality overlapping run resulted in a UD corner kick that nearly found the UMass net.

The first half continued with Flyer giveaways however as passing accuracy was inept between the goal boxes. Those errant balls often found the feet of UMass players and they quickly fed strikers up top cherypicking with single-man marking.

UMass nearly went up 1-0 on a long ball from their goalkeeper toward the top of the Flyer goal box. The one-bounce redirect by a UMass attacker beat Barrios to an open net but the side referee whistled the player offside Ė a fortunate call. Shortly thereafter, UD cleared a ball off the goal line after a UMass player whiffed from point-blank range.

UD had a couple opportunistic set pieces in the latter stages of the half, but nothing materialized and the half ended scoreless; the Flyers were fortunate to be tied.

First half stats favored UD in shots 6-5 and corner kicks 5-1. But the Minutemen were better overall in terms of run of play, creating more dangerous chances in the offensive half of the field and connecting more passes when it mattered. UMass collected 12 fouls to just thee for UD, another indication of their direct play to force the action.

The second half started where the prior 45 minutes ended as both teams knocked the ball back and forth trying to make some headway. The Flyers continued to struggle generating shots on frame despite some chances near the UMass goal box. Ironically it was UDís first legitimate shot on goal of the match that put Dayton ahead when Laurel Aug dribbled right side of the goal mouth and took a shot to the near post. UMass GK Marvyn Dorchin appeared to have his vision obstructed, diving late for the approaching ball and deflecting it into the net for the 1-0 Flyer lead in the 55th minute.

UMass continued to apply pressure however after the restart. Barrios was busy inside his goal box for much of the second half, either by nabbing high balls from the air or playing balls out of the back with his feet. The Minutemen earned numerous free kicks over the last 15 minutes of regulation, one chance coming from 20yds out on a free kick that hit the wall and several other opportunities from corner kicks at the flag. As the remaining minutes played out, the Flyers clung to the 1-0 lead while doing everything they could to withstand the sustained UMass attacking pressure.

Aug ended the suspense in the 80th minute with his second goal of the match, a blast from 30yds out that hit the crossbar and tucked inside the goal line for the 2-0 Dayton lead. The Minutemen threatened several more times to cut into the deficit and had their share of opportunities, but Barrios and the UD back line came up huge and turned away the numerous high balls and bouncing 50/50s in the mixer to secure the A10-opening victory and 4th consecutive shutout win of the season.

Second half stats illustrated UMassí strong play as shots were 9-9 and corner kicks favored UMass 5-1. Match stats were 15-14 in shots including 5 each on frame. Corner kicks were also deadlocked at 6-6 while UMass earned 18 fouls to just eight for the Flyers. Very little separated the teams.

It wasnít a great match in terms of style and run-of-play, but the game was highly competitive from start to finish. The Flyers could have easily suffered defeat were it not for Augís heroics on offense and the stingy UD defense bent but never completely broke down. Barrios was terrific inside his goal box while Zengue was solid on the flank. Cole Watkins added his usual blue-collar effort to orchestrate things at central fullback while Victor Olorunfemi pitched in at the other outside fullback spot in place of Dennis Ntsin. The Flyers must continue to improve but UMass should challenge for an A10 postseason berth by season end. The victory was hard-earned if not a work of art.

The Flyers step out of conference once again for a road contest at Marshall University on Tuesday October 1st. The Thundering Herd are currently 6-1-1 with victories over South Carolina and Akron and are receiving votes in the latest United Soccer Coaches Top-25 (#29).
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