A year ago the Dayton Dutch Lions were still winless in league play as they narrowly advanced in the Second Round and stunned the Columbus Crew in the Third Round en route to a surprising run to the tournament Quarterfinals. This seems to have given the side new life, as they own a winning record for the latest time in the season since moving from the PDL to USL Pro. However, they faced a stiff challenge during regulation from an amateur Dearborn Stars side, though that story completely changed in extra time. The Dutch Lions kept their cool and scored, while the Stars lost theirs and ended the 4-1 home side victory down to eight men.
As the first half kicked off, the Dutch Lions came out aggressive, dominating possession for much of the half. Dearborn immediately played tight defense to keep the Dutch Lions on the perimeter, and countered the tight passing with physical challenges, attempting to unsettle the USL Pro side. Through 25 minutes it seemed inevitable that the Dutch Lions would score as they sent chance after chance toward Stars keeper Vito Lonigro.
After sitting tight for much of the game, it was the Stars that struck first, however, off a counter following a Dutch Lions corner kick. Stars defender Mike Haidar sent a cross to Mo Kaba to get the visitors on the board in the 27th minute.
After being forced to regroup, the Dutch Lions caught a break in the 43rd minute when a Stars player hit the ground due to an errant elbow, The referee nearby stood over the player to assess if there was an injury, but play was never stopped, and no foul assesed. The Stars players in their defensive half just stopped moving, waiting for a whistle or a card, allowing the Dutch Lions’ Joseph Madigan to casually jog on in and put the ball past Lonigro to even the game up. The Stars immediately objected to the goal and felt it was bad sportsmanship on the part of the Lions to continue play. Nevertheless, the goal stood and half ended even.
The second half saw Dayton dominating possession once again, but Dearborn came out with more confidence and were able to mount a more organized offense. The Stars continued their physical play, going overboard when Mo Kaba was handed a straight red card in the 57th minute. Kaba made a very rough tackle on Dayton defender Jeremy Cheeseman, and his exit left his squad down a man.
One might expect an amateur squad who’s down to 10 men to bunker in again, however, Dearborn managed the space incredibly well, almost negating Dayton’s advantage. Through the last ten minutes of regulation, it was Dearborn that had the Dutch Lions on their heels. Keeper Matt Williams was forced to make some big saves, including on a looping 40-yard strike in the 88th minute that Williams had to leap and bump with his fingertips to send over the crossbar, ultimately saving the tie and forcing it to extra time.
From the start of extra session, Dayton came out focused. Their attack paid off in the 96th minute when Gibson Bardsley blazed down the left flank and fired a rocket past the Stars keeper for his second goal of the night.
Dearborn were clearly frustrated after losing the lead in the extra time they felt the game should have never went to, and started to break down, with the Stars answering Dayton goals with red cards instead of more goals. First, Joe Beshara was sent off in stoppage time of the first extra time period, leaving Dearborn down to nine. Shortly after that, the Dutch Lions would get a little insurance early in the second half of overtime when Tjeerd Westdjik put a ball through to Joel Delass to give them a 3-1 lead.
Nik Djokic then retaliated, not in the scoring sense that he brought to last week’s 2-0 win against the Michigan Bucks, but rather with a flagrant arm to the face of a Dayton player. He was also shown a straight red with seven minutes left, leaving the Stars with only eight men on the field. Dayton would add insult to Dearborn’s injury, when DeLass would return the favor to Westdjik, setting him up in the 119th minute to leave no uncertainty to the Dutch Lions victory.
The Dutch Lions now move on to the third round and a rematch from last year’s tournament, returning to Columbus Crew Stadium next Wednesday. It was a Third Round match in May of last year when the upstart Dutch Lions stunned the home crowd with a 2-1 upset win. After the Crew dominated most of the game, leading 1-0, the Lions executed some late scoring chances to beat the MLS side on their way to last year’s tourney quarterfinals. One would expect Columbus will be on their guard to avoid another embarrassment this year as the Crew’s head coach Robert Warzycha and an assistant coach were in the stands Tuesday to scout the competition.
Dayton Dutch Lions 4:1 Dearborn Stars SC
May 21, 2013 – Miami Valley Hospital Stadium, Beavercreek, Ohio
DEA – Mo Kaba 27’
DAY – Joseph Madigan, 43’
DAY – Gibson Bardsley, 96’
DAY – Joel DeLass (Tjeerd Westdjik) 107’
DAY – Tjeerd Westdjik (Joel DeLass) 119’
DEA – Zach Wilkes (Yellow) 45
DEA – Mo Kaba (Red) 57
DAY – Tjeerd Westdijk (Yellow) 101
DEA – Nik Djokic (Yellow) 104
DEA – Joe Beshara (Red) 105
DEA – Nik Djokic (Red) 113