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MSOC: Adjei and the Flyers Silence LaSalle 4-0 in A10 Qtrs
MSOC: Adjei and the Flyers Silence LaSalle 4-0 in A10 Qtrs
Christopher Rieman
Published by Chris R
Smile MSOC: Adjei and the Flyers Silence LaSalle 4-0 in A10 Qtrs

The Dayton Flyers took advantage of their #3 seed and home field advantage by pasting the #6 LaSalle Explorers 4-0 on Sunday afternoon at Baujan Field. Kingsford Adjei scored the game-winner in the first half, while adding another goal and helper after intermission to secure UD's spot in the A10 Semifinals next weekend at Fordham. Winners of seven straight matches, UD improves to 12-7-0 (6-2-0) while LaSalle ends the season at 8-9-1 (4-4-0).

Clear skies, no wind, and above average temperatures hovering near 60F made for perfect conditions as UD hosted LaSalle for the right to advance to the four-team Semis in the Bronx, NY. While Dayton enjoyed the home crowd however, much of the first half proved to be highly-competitive with neither side running away with momentum.

The opening minutes were especially entertaining as each side did well to possess and move forward with excellent pace. It was a wide-open match but also very physical as both teams recognized a defeat would end the 2019 season while the winner lives to fight another day. The Explorers did a nice job of limiting junior Flyer forward Jonas Fjeldberg's touches early on, but others stepped up and were able to find space downfield to put pressure on the Explorer back line.

Kingsford Adjei and Toluwalese Oladeinbo were the main cogs with Adjei providing a preponderance of the flash-and-dash while Oladeinbo played more like a target forward ala Karl Malone. There were opportunistic chances in the offensive half of the field, but UD had trouble generating quality shots on frame as execution bogged down inside the goal box.

Fortunately, LaSalle experienced the same hardship with their own offense, doing well between the 18s but suffering from rare open looks as the Flyer defensive unit closed up gaps and cleared danger away when necessary. The Explorers' best scoring chance came on a long-distance shot about 15 minutes after kickoff, necessitating a heroic diving tip over the crossbar by GK Federico Barrios to keep the match scoreless.

Over the next 20 minutes a lot was happening on the field, but little materialized in front of the net. Both sides took turns launching long balls and free kicks into the mixer hoping for a fortunate bounce and redirect, but the opposing defenses proved to be better than the offenses they were competing against.

Everything changed in the 34th minute however when Adjei threw caution to the wind and called his own number on an ambitious wind-up from 30 yards out. It was a great decision because the ball was perfectly-struck and ultimately tucked inside the upper-90 of the far left post and left the LaSalle defense completely stunned. Now up 1-0, Dayton was in the driver's seat.

The last 10 minutes of the half remained competitive however as LaSalle refused to fold their tent. They had a couple half-chances in front of UD's 18-yard line but sent shots far off target to let the Flyers off the hook. By halftime however, LaSalle maintained a slight 6-5 edge in total shots while corner kicks favored the Flyers 3-2.

The second half was all Dayton and they didn't have to stuff the stat sheet to run away with the victory. The final 45 minutes were executed like a well-oiled machine as the Flyers terminated their chances and simply out-worked LaSalle between the goal boxes where the rent is usually paid.

Daniel Dos Santos made it 2-0 in the 54th minute after receiving a terrific chip over the LaSalle back line by Laurel Aug. Dos Santos ran onto the ball, took a couple touches, and tucked it away to give the Flyers some breathing room on the scoreboard. The goal also took some wind out of the Explorers' sails as they sensed the writing on the wall as the second half continued.

Adjei collected his brace in the 74th minute with a slotted shot to the lower right post from the left side of the goal box to put the Flyers up 3-0 and in total command. As the game continued, Dayton got stronger and kept their foot on the gas. Meanwhile, LaSalle looked tired and overwhelmed by the sustained pressure on and off the ball by the UD back line and midfield. Xavier Zengue and Cole Watkins were stingy in the second half, tightening up gaps and playing service out of the back to jumpstart the Flyer offense. About the only thing fans didn't see were booming overlaps from Zengue -- but they weren't needed. Watkins did press forward however -- often through the center circle to take advantage of free space with the dribble-drive.

Up 3-0, most teams would shift the car into cruise control and call it a day, but Dayton never slowed down and continued to apply dangerous pressure in the offensive third of the field. Fjeldberg finally found the net for his team-leading 11th goal of the season in the 84th minute on a cheeky toe chip over the charging Explorer goalkeeper that bounced into the open net for the 4-0 Flyer advantage that ultimately rounded out the scoring.

Overall, LaSalle outshot UD 17-12 but UD had a 5-4 advantage in shots on goal. While UD scored on four of those five chances, the quality of those finishes were the storyline of the afternoon. Each goal was a textbook finish good enough for the highlight reel and Adjei's first-half rocket should find its way into tonight's SportsCenter Top-10 plays of the day.

The victory keeps the season alive as UD travels to the Bronx to take on #2 seed VCU at Fordham University on Friday afternoon at 4pm. At this point, Dayton is as much a favorite to win it all as any remaining team in the conference tournament. The Flyers are playing their best soccer of the season and have won seven straight matches -- outscoring their opponents 21-5 in the process. No doubt UD has the offense to score against just about anyone. The three-headed monster of Fjeldberg, Oladeinbo, and Adjei has gotten infinitely better since the start of the season -- a beginning to the year when scoring goals was actually a problem (made worse by Rok Taneski's career-ending injury). If the Flyers can successfully defend their own net and keep the score down, there's no reason they cant be A10 Champions by this time next weekend. Having the luxury of Barrios between the net not only provides UD with the ultimate defensive security blanket -- he makes a potential penalty-kick shootout all the more advantageous to Head Coach Dennis Currier's squad.

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

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