Lions Win Two On The Road

Lions Win Two On The Road

Game 1:

After a 10 hour drive, which saw the Lions leave before sunrise, the Cincinnati Dutch Lions faced SC United Bantams for the 3rd time. The Lions were able to beat the Bantams again by a heavy large score line, finishing with a final of 4-1.

With head coach Terry Nicholl pulled away with his youth club duties, the task of leading the Lions was left to assistant coach Bruno Lopes.

The Lions dominated the game from the start, scoring before the halfway point of the first half. Jacob Mayer finished in the 20th minute after some great combination play by the Lions. Following taking the lead, the Lions dominated possession with a short, quick passing game, creating good chances in hopes of adding to the scoreboard.

The Lions would add their second of the half in stoppage time of the first half. Kyle Smith would tally another goal just before half to give the Lions a 2-0 lead entering the break.

In the second half the Lions began to suffer from the intense heat and the long drive to South Carolina. However, Kyle Smith was able to score again the 60th minute to push the score to 3-0. At this point SC United was taking risks to get back in the game by sending long balls or they would bring up a majority of the team on set pieces. That ultimately led to the Bantams getting their lone goal of the evening in the 75th minute.

Following the SC United goal, the Lions slowed the game down for 10 minutes as they looked to finish the game. Regaining focus on passing and possession would ultimately lead to the Lions scoring their fourth goal in the stoppage time when Christian Alexander netted a goal following great counter attack.

After the final whistle giving the Lions the 4-1 victory coach Bruno Lopes had this to say about the game.

“We were better when it counted. We wanted to dominate possession, we wanted to play very solid on defense, and compact in the midfield. The team showed maturity controlling the crucial moments and the pace of the game. Our boys played very organized, with a great team work ethic, with all the players getting involved. We scored in the key moments of stoppage time in the first half and in the beginning of the second half. That’s a huge momentum swing in both directions and glad we were on the positive end.”


Game 2:

Less than 48 hours from their victory over the SC United Bantams, the Lions were back at it against the Carolina Dynamo. In the first game against the Dynamo the Lions drew level at 3-3 in a high scoring game.

The Lions would have a brilliant first half, especially controlling ball possession and creating chances to score with a great passing game and good team dynamic.

In the 17th min Jacob Mayer scored from outside of the 18 yard box after some good combination with Alejandro Garcia. Five minutes later Oriol Cortes scored a beautiful goal on an outstanding individual play, which saw him beat the Dynamo defenders while staying onside, creating a one on one. With nobody to beat, Cortes slammed home what would ultimately be the game winner.

Besides the goals, the Lions dominated the first half completely and the only chance the Dynamo had to score has from a indirect free kick inside the 18 yard box. A poor defensive laps by the Lions saw a player commit a high kick, resulting in the free kick.

Cincinnati would also have other chances to add to the lead, but shots near the end of the first half, particularly in the 41st minute saw the Lions shot bounce off the post and back into the field of play.

Much like the first game of the weekend the second half was a physical test for the Lions. With temperatures around 100 degrees and with tired legs form our last game, Carolina began to push forward in attempt to get back into the game. For coach Bruno, that meant the Dutch Lions had to be smart to win the game.

Essentially parking the bus, the Lions relied on solid defense most of the second half. Showing the maturity that Head Coach Terry Nicholl built this team upon, the Lions were able to focus and communicate with one another to fight off any Dynamo attacks.

The Dynamo had a penalty in the 65 minute but it hit the post. Carolina kept sending balls towards the defense line, but the Lions held tough, maintaining focus and organization with all the players conscious about what they had to do to secure three more points.

At the 85 min the Dynamo ended up scoring off a corner kick. A lack of marksmanship on the near post allowed the Dynamo to edge closer to tying the game back up. That being said, the Lions held the fort down the final five minutes and took home another three points.

Following game number two coach Bruno had this to say about his teams performance.

“It is a tale of two halves. The first half saw our boys be high energy, dynamic, and play great moments of soccer. The second half of the game we began to play it as a men’s game. We showed maturity to control the game, even under pressure, the boys made a great effort to keep those 3 points. Normally when a team concede a goal like we did in the last min and under pressure its not un common for that conceding team to fall apart. But we did the opposite, and with great teamwork we won the game, we won as a team.”

With two games completed, the Cincinnati Dutch Lions picked up all six points from the weekend. With 16 points, the Lions now sit in second place in the South Atlantic Division. With two home games in a row coming up, it puts the Lions in a prime spot to push for a playoff birth.

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