Bucks Shutout Streak Continues With 1-0 Win in Dayton
Chicago up next at 9 PM on Father’s Day at Ultimate
Dayton, OH (June 15, 2017)- The Michigan Bucks extended their shutout streak to five games in Dayton when they earned a hard fought 1-0 win over the Dutch Lions on the road Wednesday evening. The Bucks (5-1-0, 15 points) sit just a game behind K-W United (6-1-0, 18 points) for the top spot in the Great Lakes Division of the Premier Development League (PDL), with a game in hand. The Bucks will host a very important match on Sunday night (Father’s Day) against Chicago FC United to conclude Youth Tryout Week at Ultimate Soccer Arenas. Specially priced Father’s Day tickets are $5 at the door (all ages, 5 and under free).
The Bucks returned to Dayton on Wednesday with revenge on their mind, as the Dutch Lions provided the only blemish on the Bucks otherwise perfect season. The Ohio team converted two Bucks errors into goals and won the first of three matches this season by a score of 2-1. Michigan wanted no repeat performance of the May encounter and looked to continue on the solid defensive play that has enabled the team to play over 525 consecutive minutes without yielding a goal. The Bucks game plan worked in the first half in Dayton but provided for a very slow opening stanza as the visitors came out flat and played an uninspired first forty five minutes of uneventful soccer. The Bucks had the only real chances in the first half by creating a few corner kicks and a couple of free kicks from inside 25 yards, but failed to convert any of these.
The Bucks woke up in the second half and seemed to be a completely different team coming out of the break and immediately began to attack the Dayton goal in a manner that Bucks fans are accustomed to seeing. A great deal of the credit for the Bucks inspired second half domination came from the addition of Austin Ricci and Francis Atuahene into the second half lineup. The two attackers made an immediate impact and changed the balance of the game by keeping the Dutch Lion defense on its heels for most of the last thirty minutes.
Dayton goal keeper Michael Yantz became the Man of the Match for the Dutch Lions when he faced 13 second half shots and made 9 saves; many of them from inside the six yard box. Between the 55th and 60th minute, Yantz made two double saves from corner kicks and somehow saved a close up Ricci shot that was surely going to be the go ahead strike. Yantz’ save fell to the feet of Atuahene at the back post, who had a tap in saved off the line by a sliding Lions defender to keep the game scoreless.
The Bucks pounded the Dayton goal for the next ten minutes and earned another four corner kicks, but could not get anything past Yantz until the 75th minute. The Bucks built up nicely from mid field and Jared Timmer’s run up the middle of the park attracted two defenders to close down the Grand Rapids, MI native. Timmer calmly played the ball to Tom Owens who one timed a ball on the left wing to defender Alexi Souahy who was making a run into the penalty area. Souahy coolly slotted his low left footed shot near post that left Yantz no chance and the Bucks were on the board 1-0.
While the team continued to attack looking for the second goal to put the game away, it was the stellar defense anchored by Nick Walker and Brad Dunwell that frustrated the Lions all night. Dayton managed to get only four shots off for the game, forcing reigning PDL Goal Keeper of the Week Drew Shepherd to make two saves. Although the save count appears to have made Shepherd a pedestrian on the night, the aggressive goal keeper was instrumental in breaking up every long ball that Dayton knocked over the top in an effort to avoid the Bucks stingy back line.
Assistant Coach Paul Thomas liked what he saw in the second half, but was not pleased with the first half effort. “It was by far our worst 45 minutes of the season. We were flat and were not playing with intensity or passion. We were knocking the ball around but not going anywhere. That is not Bucks soccer and we talked about that at half time. One of the Dayton players said we came to steal a point, insinuating we were playing for a tie. I think that fired up the boys a bit. This team wouldn’t know how to play for a tie if their lives depended on it. For some reason we just were not in attack mode the first half, but the field tilted in a hurry in the second half. We should have scored several more, but credit their keeper. He kept them in the game until the end” said Thomas.
Now the Bucks will face an old rival on Sunday in Chicago FC United, formerly known as Chicago Fire U23. The two clubs have combined to have sent over 150 players to Major League Soccer in the past twenty years and Sunday’s match will feature at least ten future MLS players as well. The Bucks and United played in the semi- finals of the Hank Steinbrecher Cup for the USASA National Amateur championship two weeks ago and the Bucks came away with a hard fought 2-0 victory.
Chicago desperately needs a win to keep in the playoff hunt in the Heartland Division of the PDL, as they enter the match with a season record of 1-1-2 (5 points).
All tickets are $5 at the door on Sunday night for the 9 PM game at Ultimate Soccer Arenas, which will bring the Bucks PDL season to the halfway point. For further information about the Bucks, please visit our web site at www.buckssoccer.com and follow us on Twitter @MichiganBucks.