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WSOC: Dayton Back to Winning; Tops LaSalle 3-0
WSOC: Dayton Back to Winning; Tops LaSalle 3-0
Christopher Rieman
Published by Chris R
09-23-2021
Smile WSOC: Dayton Back to Winning; Tops LaSalle 3-0

After nearly three weeks away from Baujan Field while the playing surface got some TLC, the Dayton Flyers were back on familiar turf in the first A10 regular season home game of the year. UD got an early goal, enjoyed a red card advantage, and added a pair of late insurance goals after halftime to cruise to a 3-0 win over LaSalle. The Flyers get their first win in six matches and improve to 4-4-2 (1-1-0), while the Explorers fall to 2-5-2 (0-1-1).

Struggling to score over the last five matches (just two goals), Dayton didn’t waste time finding the net as Itala Gemelli jumped on a counter-attacking through ball in the box. She finished a 1v1 lower far post shot vs the LaSalle goalkeeper for the 1-0 lead in the fourth minute.

From there, Dayton dominated the run of play as UD routinely hooked up for extended possession, linking up passes through the midfield and into the offensive half of the field. This was especially true around the middle circle and onward as the Flyer midfield did well to set up triangle passing and give-and-go’s to move the ball further up the pitch. Once approaching the LaSalle box however, the lack of pace getting there allowed the Explorers to keep just enough defenders behind the ball. Strong scoring opportunities proved difficult at times in spite of the dominating run of play and quality chances in the build-up process. UD tried attacking from the wings and down the middle – both with only modest success. While there were some dangerous chances inside 12yds, there wasn’t much headhunting to speak of and balls there to poke away for another goal went uncapitalized.

LaSalle’s only legitimate offensive push came on counter-attacks out of the back or the random Dayton miscue (poor passes or dispossession). Those gaffs were few and far between however and as the first half continued the Explorers posed little danger to the Dayton back line. LaSalle also demonstrated little in the way of dynamic individual playmaking.

Madison Wilson suffered a hard foul near the LaSalle bench in the 36th minute, resulting in a LaSalle red card that gave the Flyers a man-advantage for the rest of the match. The referee originally pulled out the yellow plastic, but Wilson’s tumble into the brick retaining wall of the Baujan Field terrace forced a reconsideration given the risk for injury.

The last few minutes of the first half continued with Flyer domination, if not on the scoreboard then at least in terms of ball possession and passes connected.

First half stats were dominated by UD in shots 12-1 (7-1 in shots on goal) while corner kicks were 2-0.

The second half was a great opportunity take advantage of the red car and use the numbers advantage to break LaSalle’s spirit and also add some insurance goals on the scoreboard. For much of the half however that proved exceedingly difficult.

Things started off well directly after the restart and it wasn’t long before Jess Sheldon went to work along the left touch line, soaring past Explorer defenders like a pronghorn antelope. Two great services – one a cross and another a slip between two defenders – were probably chances the Flyers should have converted. Doing so would have iced the game and taken the anxiety away, but the score remained 1-0 as the second half continued.

LaSalle slowly but methodically found more possession, and with that, additional opportunities to move forward into the Flyer defensive half of the field. There wasn’t much artistry to the momentum switch, but hard work and hustle plays pay off just as kindly. Soon it was LaSalle exerting influence and challenging the goal box – despite the 10 vs 11 disadvantage. Like a wounded animal backed into a corner, the Explorers found some inspiration from the circumstances and through the middle part of the second half seemed on the precipice of equalizing the match at 1-1.

Dayton’s back line remained organized however and that included solid clearances on set pieces. There were no major gaffs or dispossessions in the defensive third and without those gifts, UD held on to the lead with 10 minutes remaining. GK Madelyn Dewey was sure-handed and came up big with a tip over the crossbar on a LaSalle set piece from 25yds later in the half.

UD finally added that much-needed insurance goal in the 84th minute on a Gemelli cross to Laney Huber from the right side of the box. The one-time finish inside the 6yd line put UD up 2-0 and put the match out of reach. The Flyers added a third and final goal just one minute later when Huber was taken down on a breakaway counter-attack 15yds out. Gemelli went lower left post to make it 3-0 and round out the scoring.

Overall stats were dominated by the Flyers. Shots were 22-9 including a 12-7 advantage in shots on goal. Corner kicks were more even at 4-3. The 10-8 Flyer shot advantage in the second half – despite playing with an additional body – underscored the struggle in the last 45 minutes to put the Explorers away easily. To LaSalle’s credit, their overall effort and execution after halftime was also better in spite of playing a man down.

UD still struggles to find the net on quality scoring opportunities and that was apparent once again on Thursday evening. Sheldon can only do so much in terms of setting the table; it’s up to her teammates to ‘get some’ inside inside the goal box. Overall speed of play and touch-happy feet remain a hurdle that is unnecessarily slowing the attack as well. The headhunting mentality inside the box is also a work in progress at the moment, but it will need to improve if Dayton plans to challenge for a spot at the top of the A10 standings. Fortunately, the Flyers got some help tonight as Duquesne topped league favorite Saint Louis 3-1. Momentum has been hard to come by since starting the season 3-0-0. Tonight’s product, while not a Picasso, is at least a turn in the right direction.

Dayton is back in action on Sunday afternoon vs Davidson at Baujan Field.
__________________

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