The men and women of Dayton Dutch Lions FC participated in a double-header on Saturday evening at DOC Stadium in West Carrollton. In the early match, the women remained undefeated and atop the W-League Southeastern Conference by drawing level with the Charlotte Lady Eagles. The men upended Toronto FC Academy in the second half of the double dip for their first victory since rejoining the PDL for the 2015 season.
USL PDL: Dayton Dutch Lions 2-1 Toronto FC Academy
One year, ten months and three days. That is how long it had been since the men of Dayton Dutch Lions FC had won a meaningful competition at home. In that time the Dutch Lions had undergone one venue change, four head coaching changes and one league change. It seemed the only consistency was to be found in the club’s inability to win in front of its home crowd. Dayton turned it around against Toronto FC on Saturday, and a solid 90 minutes of effort was rewarded with the first win on the new synthetic pitch at DOC Stadium.
The Dutch Lions jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first half with goals by Tyrone Leandro and Michael Frasca. In the 12th minute, Eric Kissinger dribbled to the end line near the left edge of the box and passed back to an unmarked Leandro in the middle of the penalty area. Leandro beat the TFC keeper with a strike inside the far post. Frasca was set up by a through ball that Etienne Esajas squirted through 4 TFC defenders. One-on-one with the goalkeeper, Frasca calmy rolled the ball into the net in the 29th minute.
TFC Academy pulled one back in extra time at the end of the first half. It looked like the Reds caught Dayton sleeping while waiting for the whistle to send them to the locker room.
The Dutch Lions had their hands full in the second half as Toronto pushed to find an equalizer. Dayton’s defense, however, was more organized than most previous matches and kept a clean sheet over the final 45 minutes.
Dayton appeared to play a more conservative style than fans have grown accustomed to seeing, especially under Head Coach Patrick Bal, who typically stresses an attack and press approach. Give credit to Bal, who recognized his teams strengths and deficiencies and was not too proud or stubborn to abandon some of his philosophies. Yes, the Dutch like to win pretty, but sometimes winning at all is the important thing.
USL W-League: Dayton Dutch Lions 2-2 Charlotte Eagles
The women of Dayton Dutch Lions FC entered Saturday’s contest against the Charlotte Lady Eagles with a perfect 5-0-0 record in the W-League Southeastern Conference. The third-place Lady Eagles landed in Dayton with intentions of ending perfection and drawing within three points of the first-place Dutch Lions. Assuredly, the draw sent both clubs away from the pitch with a bit of a sour taste.
Charlotte completely dominated the opening minutes of the match and capitalized with a goal in the eighth minute. A poorly marked Valorie O’Brien had an easy header off a corner kick.
The Dutch Lions settled in and the remainder of the first half was played more evenly. Dayton’s Florence Dadson looked dangerous at several times in the first period and finally found a goal in the 41st minute. A slotted pass and Dadson’s pace put her alone in front of the goalkeeper, and Dadson made good on the opportunity.
The second half began the in similar fashion to the first, with the Lady Eagles attacking and in complete control. Justine Hover’s strike in the 46th minute found the top corner of the net and gave Charlotte another lead. Although the Lady Eagles would have several more chances to add to their total, none of the shots found the mark.
The Dutch Lions equalizer came in the 56th minute of the foot of Liz Slattery. A long, lofted pass from Josee Stiever found Slattery deep in the box, and Slattery turned and converted from close range. The Lady Eagles vehemently protested that the flag should have come up for offside, but the referee stood by the decision of the assistant. Charlote ‘keeper Robin Horner-Jones could be heard explaining to Head Coach Lee Horton that she instructed the defenders to leave Slattery because she was offside.
It was an eye-opening result for the Dutch Lions women, who played slow and reactive throughout most of the contest, unlike the previous five matches. Dayton Head Coach Gavin McLeod knew that Charlotte posed the biggest challenge thus far in the season. He was tactically prepared for the Lady Eagles, but Dayton had some difficulty executing his game plan.
One of the revelations of the match was the skill and versatility that Malia Berkely demonstrated for the Dutch Lions. McLeod agreed and raved about the youngster after the match. Berkley, who is about to enter her senior year of high school in Liberty Township and has been called up to the USWNT U18 team, started the match at midfield, helping to facilitate Dayton’s attack. She was moved to center back in the second half and immediately changed the dynamics of the back line while proving to be an excellent 1v1 defender.
The Dayton men hit the road for tough matches in Canada against K-W United and Forrest City London. They return home to host Southern West Virginia on Wednesday, July 1 at 7:30 PM.
The Dutch Lions women head out for a three-game road trip that will feature two contests against the Washington Spirit, who trail Dayton by only two points in the standings. The ladies return to DOC Stadium on Saturday, July 11 as part of another double-header that begins at 5 PM.
Tickets for the men’s and women’s teams can be purchased at the gate at DOC Stadium in West Carrollton.