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Flyer MSOC Runs Past Western Illinois 4-1
Flyer MSOC Runs Past Western Illinois 4-1
Christopher Rieman
Published by Chris R
Smile Flyer MSOC Runs Past Western Illinois 4-1

Dayton scored in the opening minute of play, then fought off a 1-1 tie in the second half to run away from Western Illinois 4-1 on Friday evening at Baujan Field. The victory is UD's first on the season and improves their record to 1-1-1. Western Illinois remains winless at 0-3-0.

As matches go, conditions were not ideal as the remnants of Hurricane Harvey made their way into the Miami Valley on Friday, dropping a steady rain that created slippery conditions. But that didn't stop the Flyers from getting off to a great start in this one -- the best start a team can hope for with a goal in the first minute of play.

Alvaro Navarro started a set piece in the center of the pitch that targeted Dillon Nino directly inside the WIU goal box. Leatherneck GK Tim Hansen attempted a punch-out, but Nino beat him to the ball with a flick-header that redirected into an open goal for the 1-0 Dayton advantage just 44 seconds after kickoff.

The Flyers played the entire first half with the lead, and over the next 20 minutes were poised to add to it. Dayton dominated the run of play with excellent hustle for 50/50 challenges that culminated in off-the-ball movement that sprung loose players free along the flanks. After working the flanks, UD brought the ball inside on perpendicular dribble-drives that added to WIU's defensive problems. The good angles created even better passing lanes and the Flyers had no trouble knocking the ball around for extended periods and putting significant pressure on the WIU goal mouth.

Whether it was crosses in the box near the baseline, triangle passing in the central third, or post-ups just outside the box, the Flyers looked dangerous and had little resistance.

Slowly but surely however, WIU picked up the pace and the match became far more competitive. As Dayton lost a half-step, WIU gained it in the other direction. Over the last 20 minutes of the first half, the Leathernecks manufactured sustained possession and kept their shape just long enough to get the ball near the Flyer goal box. Dayton's back line hung tough however and GK Federico Barrios was not asked to do much to protect the 1-0 lead; he never registered a save in the first 45 minutes -- that's a credit to his steady back line.

Still, the Flyers had lost their edge and as the first half came to a close, the overall run of play had more or less evened out. Shots favored Dayton 9-4 while WIU owned a 3-1 advantage in corner kicks.

Western Illinois tied the match at 1-1 in the 50th minute on a rebound after Barrios came up with tough initial save. With 40 minutes remaining, it was once again nip-and-tuck as both sides were in a great spot to earn their first victory of the season.

UD kept plugging away however and as the match continued, WIU appeared to wear down -- if not in spirit then in pace and endurance. The Flyers never fatigued as much and before long they were once again the more dangerous side. Rok Taneski helped UD regain the lead in the 60th minute after collecting a perfectly-weighed back-door pass from Navarro to one-time a ball at the near post to make the score 2-1.

Over the last 30 minutes of the second half, the tempo continued to favor UD in most areas of the pitch. Thor Helgason made it 3-1 in the 75th minute after teaming up with Jonas Fjeldberg directly in front of the net. From there, WIU pretty much rolled over and never seriously threatened again. Navarro tattooed a shot from 20yds that ricocheted off the post, sitting nicely in the box for Daniel Dos Santos to collect and finish the rebound to make it 4-1 and round out the scoring.

It was an odd match that had a little bit of everything -- some of it even a bit unconventional. A goal in the first minute of play allowed the Flyers to settle in and play with the lead for nearly the entire first half, but the success of the first 20 minutes subsided and WIU appeared the equal dancer partner by halftime. WIU then scored early in the second half to tie the match and snuff out the warm and fuzzy Flyer feeling, only to see the Flyers respond in a big way with three second half goals to blow the game wide open and win going away.

Navarro finished with three assists, while Taneski, James Haupt, and Dillon Nino provided good pace and physicality to jump-start the Flyer offense. Perhaps UD's back line had the best evening however, limiting WIU's opportunities to mostly half-chances and corner kicks. UD finished with a 19-7 advantage in shots, while WIU played for corners (7-1).

WIU may spend much of the season near the bottom of their conference, so Flyer fans must temper enthusiasm just a bit. UD is still a work in progress and roles are not fully forged. Friday evening was a 4-1 victory but WIU made the Flyers work for it and that's unlikely to change throughout the season no matter whom UD goes up against. The margin of error is decidedly thin, but we still think the team's strength lies in the defense. If UD can continue to keep the score down, they'll give their offense a chance in most games.

UD travels to Nashville on Sunday for a road match at Belmont.

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

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