Dayton Dutch Lions, Starters: Williams, Cheeseman, Granger, Harada, Smith, DeLass, Westdijk, Khutsidze, Madigan, Garner, Swartzendruber
Dearborn Stars, Starters: Lonigro, Grba, Wilkes, Quinn, Haidar, Hicklin, Kaba, Chapman, Seppo, Beshara, Djokic
Both sides came out with equal amounts of energy and planning. Dayton seemed perfectly comfortable playing in what is becoming their normal tactical formation (4-3-3). Dearborn kept things simple by dropping seven back in defense in attempt to neutralize the Lion attack.
The Star’s plan worked. Dayton practically abandoned the midfield in attempt to spring three attacking players into space. Lob after lob eventually lead way to a Star goal from counter by a decent looking Mo Kaba around the 25th minute.
Not more than a couple minutes later Dayton’s Eli Garner was chopped down the box and earned a penalty. Joel Delass stepped up to take the kick and had it saved by, what looked to be an unbeatable, Vito Lonigro.
As the half wore on the Dearborn Stars looked to have the better of the game with Dayton clearly lacking any sort of creativity. In fact, it took a controversial sequence to come to the Lion’s aid.
A couple minutes before half, Dearborn’s goal scorer Mo Kaba was inadvertently slapped in the face. He went down on one knee while the ref came over to check on him. No foul and play continued in Dayton’s possession. Dayton seemed unsure on whether or not to play the ball out and after a couple passes decided to play on. Dearborn seemed to want the ball played out, but it didn’t happen.
Joey Madigan wound up being able to work past the Star’s backline and beat a frustrated Lonigro for a goal. 1:1.
The goal set off some tempers, particularly on the Dearborn side, but not exclusively. Energized, Dayton rang a couple nice chances off the right post right before half.
As the whistle blew it was much the same for both sides. You could tell that Dearborn felt like they had a legitimate chance of winning and played with a great deal of confidence. Unfortunately, Mo Kaba once again loomed large on a ridiculously bad tackle on Dayton’s Jeremy Cheeseman.
Kaba was sent off in the 57th minute.
From there Dearborn knew that their chances were slim. They dropped back and absorbed a very patient Lion’s attack for the rest of the half and sent the match into extra time.
EXTRA TIME, 1ST HALF
It took all Dearborn had to take this match past regulation. The signs of a physically and emotionally spent side were easily apparent. Slumped shoulders, players running to the sidelines for water at each stoppage.
Dayton capitalised just six minutes in and made it 2:1. From there the wheels sort of came off Dearborn.
No long after the goal Joe Bashara received a Red, knocking Dearborn down to 9 men.
EXTRA TIME, 2ND HALF
Now playing two men up, Dayton puts another away quickly in the 17th minute, 3:1. With just about all hope lost, Dearborn showed their amateur side by collecting a handful of warnings for dangerous tackles and immature play.
Eventually, Nik Djokic was sent off and left the Star’s with only 8 men to play with. Predictably, Dayton scored again making it 4:1 and not long after the referee just brought the game to a halt.
This was a great game for the first 90 minutes that had everything a fan or supporter could want but the Dearborn Stars SC ruined a great performance against a superior Dayton Dutch Lions by accumulating three Red Cards (it actually could have been more had the ref not spared them even further embarrassment).
For Dearborn I liked: Zack Wilkes (a large defensive mid), Nathan Hicklin (an aggressive and hardworking forward) and Sam Seppo (a left winger that played well till rand out of gas).
Dayton had some callouts but will save them for the US Open Cup 3rd Round preview because next up for the Dayton Dutch Lions is a trip to Crew Stadium and a rematch against the MLS side they took down last year.