In the second half of a Dayton Dutch Lions FC doubleheader, the Dutch Lions men took on Kokomo Mantis FC at DOC Stadium in West Carrollton, OH. The match featured entertainment from the delivery of the game ball via a skydiving team until a near game-winning goal at full time. When all was said and done, the teams settled for a 3-3 draw.
“Besides the result, I think we’re satisfied with the performance,” said Dutch Lions Head Coach Sid van Druenen. “It was an entertaining game. We had a good crowd.”
The Dutch Lions controlled a lot of the possession and pushed numbers forward, creating a lot of scoring opportunities. Kokomo did not get forward as often as the home side, but made the most of the chances they were afforded. On the scoreboard it was a back and forth affair. Each time one team took a lead, the other quickly drew level.
“We took some risks going forward throughout the whole game, and they were able to capitalize on the three and a half chances they created,” said Van Druenen.
Dayton started the scoring early in the first half. Rafael Gamboa passed the ball to Paul Messerly inside the 18. Messerly turned to square his hips, and was met with a challenge from a Mantis defender. Messerly managed to get the shot off his foot, and the ball trickled across the goal line to open the scoring in the 10th minute.
Kokomo leveled the score seven minutes later, and may have caught the Dutch Lions defense doing a little ball watching (or waiting for an offside call that did not come). Sven Ricke collected an aerial ball into the box. With plenty of room and time to operate, Ricke buried his finish to the near post.
Dayton regained the lead in the 30th minute. Michael Frasca got the ball to Eric Lynch in the right of the box. Lynch took a couple of touches to get around a defender and set up his shot. He calmly beat the Kokomo goalkeeper with a left-footed finish.
The visitors leveled the score again before intermission. A long free kick descended into the box, where the Dayton defense was poorly organized. Hugo Magalhaes was left unmarked, and the birthday boy easily headed the ball into the net.
Kokomo took its first lead of the night in the second half. Ricke carried the ball toward the right post and sent a low cross to the left. The ball scooted through traffic and found its way into the goal.
It was the Dutch Lions’ turn to equalize in the 63rd minute. A long throw-in found its way to Nduka Kemjika in front of goal. Kemjika positioned himself in front of a Mantis defender and got just enough head on the ball to level the score.
Dayton got a man advantage in stoppage time when Kokomo’s Troy Kiernan was sent off with his second yellow card after engaging in some extracurricular activity with Dayton’s Dan Bent, who also received a caution. The Dutch Lions put a lot of pressure on the Mantis goal, but could not quite come up with the game winner. The game ended as Bent sent a header just over the crossbar.
“Especially in the second half, we created so many chances and had so much possession,” said Van Druenen. “It’s the story of our season. I think we’ve had four or five games now where we’ve tied and felt that we should have won.”
The draw kept Dayton in the top four of the USL PDL Great Lakes Division. The playoffs are out of reach for the Dutch Lions, but a spot in the 2017 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup is still in play.
“From the moment we missed the playoffs, that became our goal, the Open Cup,” said Van Druenen.
The Dutch Lions will have two more games to try to catch the Derby City Rovers and qualify for the Open Cup. Dayton travels to Canada to face TFC Academy and K-W United FC to finish the PDL regular season.