Reckless Challenge has decided to change it up a little bit for this recap. With contributors in Charleston and Dayton, we elected to provide a single summary from both points of view rather than publish separate articles. Mike Buytas watched the match on USL Nation and provides the Charleston perspective. Chad Hollingsworth was in the stands in Dayton and provides that viewpoint.
Perspective from Charleston
Charleston wrapped up their first two-legged road trip of the season with a tough, ugly 1-0 win against the Dayton Dutch Lions.
After defeating Harrisburg less than 48 hours earlier, The Battery started six players against Dayton that had each played less than 75 minutes this season, including four that got their first starts of the season. It also saw a number Battery players playing in unusual positions; Mueller paired with Captain Colin Falvey at center back, Adjetey starting in midfield and Griffith at right back. Combine those factors with an artificial turf pitch that is smaller, Dan Conover best described the match in his review on CHSsoccer.com.
The only lasting impression I formed was that I’d just watched an instantly forgettable 94-minute ping-pong match, except with a much bigger ball and players who occasionally slammed into each other. Call it an ugly but ultimately effective Battery performance against a Dayton team that had previously managed a 2-1-0 record despite being out-shot 19-55 by its first three opponents. Tonight, the Dutch Lions finally won the shot battle, surpassing Charleston 10-7 on the official score sheet.
I spoke with a few players after they returned to Charleston, the general consensus was they were elated to return to Charleston with six points. Faced with a combination of weary legs and a shorter than normal pitch, they felt that every time they would clear a ball, it would seem to come right back at them. Colin Falvey summed it up. “Obviously, with a lot of changes, some people haven’t played together. So we’re kinda feeling each other [out] a little bit,” Falvey told CHSSoccer. “It’s a little bit different from practice. So with a lot of changes like that, it can bring a little bit of uncertainty, but everyone did their job. Coach got it right. Lots of people got [a game] under their belt, and they’ll learn from that and get stronger. And also the team, I think, will get better from it, because everybody’s chipped in over the two games.”
Perspective from Dayton
I have to agree with Mike and Dan. Ugly and forgettable are appropriate descriptions for what took place in Beavercreek, Ohio last Friday night. It was the kind of match that almost moves me to empathize with Americans who don’t like to watch soccer because they don’t understand the game and find it boring. I live soccer, but I found this particular game to be boring and I didn’t understand much of what transpired on the pitch.
Seriously, the following sentence summarizes all of the significant action from the game. The Battery’s Nicki Paterson converted a PK in the 33′ minute after a questionable call for a hand ball against Dayton. On Wednesday, Paterson buried a penalty kick into the lower right corner against Harrisburg. He switched sides to beat Dutch Lions goalkeeper Matt Williams. Williams acknowledged that he knew which side Paterson chose against the City Islanders, which affected his decision on how to defend the penalty kick.
Dayton held a lot of possession, especially in the first half, but couldn’t do anything meaningful with it. Almost every time they tried to advance through the midfield, they were dispossessed. Charleston, on the other hand, treated the midfield as if it were Kansas. You know, flyover country.
The Dutch Lions were without Kyle Knotek, who may miss a large portion of the season with a knee injury. It was apparent that Dayton was without its Energizer Bunny, which is ironic considering the opponent was the Battery. Dayton was flat from the moment the whistle blew for the first kick. It only got worse after going down a goal.
Something for Dutch Lions fans to watch is the chemistry between the midfield and the front line. The compressed preseason schedule didn’t give them much time to develop together. The return of several starters from last season’s roster was supposed to ameliorate some of the repercussions of a condensed preseason, but they don’t seem to be on the same page yet. This is evidenced by the lack of creativity displayed and legitimate scoring opportunities created.
I spoke with Patrick Bal, Dayton’s first year head coach after the game. Most of what he told me, he also told an on-camera interviewer: