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-   -   UD Mens Soccer Falls to Bonnies 1-0 (http://www.udpride.com/forums/showthread.php?t=23921)

Chris R 10-27-2013 08:29 PM

UD Mens Soccer Falls to Bonnies 1-0
DAYTON (OH) -- Dayton surrendered a goal in the 80th minute and couldn't nab the equalizer in the closing moments, falling to St. Bonaventure 1-0 Sunday afternoon at Baujan Field. The Flyers, with just one victory over the last five matches after starting the season 10-0-0, falls to 11-2-2 (1-2-2), while the Bonnies improve to 8-6-2 (2-2-1). UD now sits in 10th place in the A10 with three road matches remaining.

Sunday's match, the second game of a twin-bill with the UD women's soccer team, began with both sides taking turns controlling possession shortly after the opening kickoff. The Bonnies were evenly-matched against the Flyers in most part of the field, making for a competitive -- albeit not especially entertaining -- first 45 minutes of play.

Exchanging moments of sustained possession, both sides attempted to probe the opposing defense for goal-scoring opportunities in the offensive third of the pitch. The midfield was the place for opening up free space to get forward, but the results of two months of soccer left the Baujan Field pitch chewed up and difficult to overcome at times. In other cases, both sides failed to connect their passes due to mis-communication.

As the first half continued, offense was difficult to come by. Both UD and St. Bonaventure had the ball in dangerous places -- good enough for crosses in the box or slotted balls beyond the back lines -- but very little ever came of these opportunities. When there were shots, they were usually not on frame and let both goalkeepers off the hook.

Defensively, both sides did a credible job of defending the dribble-drive. Defenders also stepped up into the passing lanes to punish the opposition for loose passes off their targets. Flyer set pieces proved to be the most dangerous offensive scoring chances of the half, but none of them were close to finding the back of the net -- at least until the final minute.

Abe Keller placed a corner kick in the box that was double-flicked off the head of two Flyer players at the six yard line, but the ball skipped over the crossbar and left the match scoreless at intermission.

Dayton led the first half in shots 11-6 and corner kicks 5-2. Only three total saves were registered among both goalkeepers, underscoring the lack of quality shots on frame.

The second half played out largely like the first 45 minutes. Neither side shook loose from the other, though UD benefited from freshman James Haupt's excellent work-rate in the Flyer offense. Running down loose balls and challenging Bonnie defenders, Haupt forced a few errant clears or passes, paving the way for others to scoop up the mess and push forward too.

The run of play remained competitive throughout, though the overall level of soccer was quite pedestrian at times. Part of it was solid defending while another equal part was a pair of offenses clearly out of synch. Set pieces for both teams were the most advantageous scoring chances, allowing each team to send long balls in the box hoping for a connection at the end of it. As the half wore on, UD generated a couple half-chances that turned into full chances deep in SBU's goal box, but the Bonnie defense did just enough to turn those opportunities away.

The posture of the game suggested that one goal would probably end up as the game-winner, and that's what happened in the 80th minute when Bonnie midfielder Emmett O'Connor beat a Flyer defender one-on-one along the right side and toe-poked a shot inside the near post where goalkeeper Chris Froschauer was attempting to cover. Down 1-0 with 10 minutes remaining, things weren't looking good for the Flyers.

To their credit, Dayton managed a final flurry in the waning minutes, but never developed enough combination play to solve SBU's back line. UD earned a few more corner kicks -- including one in the final minute of play -- but couldn't convert.

Game stats favored UD in shots 16-14 and corner kicks 11-3. Shots on goal favored St. Bonaventure 5-3, underscoring the lack of quality offensive scoring chances UD had over 90 minutes of play.

Haupt was a bright spot for Dayton, working up top with Andres Acevedo to leverage their speed and work rate. Defender Christopher Lenning was once again first class. The Flyers continue to suffer from a soft midfield however, and lack clear ball-winners and territorial headhunters with a physical presence that can get Dayton -- quickly -- into an offense-minded posture. That's something that's been a work-in-progress all season. The Flyers did win their share of head balls over the course of the match, but the offense is now struggling as the competition has improved.

Currently in 10th place in the A10 standings, the Flyers have a monumental task ahead of them in order to qualify for the A10 Tournament. All three remaining league matches against LaSalle, UMass, and Rhode Island are away from home. While LaSalle is the only one of those teams near the top of the A10 standings, Dayton is struggling to earn results against anyone at the moment. UD probably needs two victories to ensure they qualify.

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