A lovely night for soccer produced a tightly contested NPSL rematch between AFC Cleveland and Dayton Dynamo, which ended as a 1-0 loss for the traveling Royals.
Chances in the first half came in waves for both squads, with the Dynamo capitalizing on a 38th minute corner kick to take a 1-0 lead via Nicholas Cozad’s towering header. The home side found a variety of chances in the first half through their attacking corps. Much like the May 13 matchup, Tristan Lyle’s activity and combination with Christopher Dupont and Tate Robertson in the final third caused problems for the Royals defense. The addition of Matthew Kinkopf and Nick Hagenkord also looked to give the Dynamo an offensive boost for most of the match.
The Royals were still able to attack with effect despite the absence of right fullback Chris Cvecko, tallying nine shots with four on goal. AFC Cleveland looked poised to score off set pieces and crossing opportunities, especially during a stretch between the 15th and 25th minutes. The Royals attacking frustrations for the night were personified by a Vinny Bell header that beat Dynamo goalkeeper Ryan Hulings, but was stopped by the crossbar in the 20’.
Dayton Dynamo effectively starved AFC Cleveland of opportunities in the second half and held onto their one goal lead until the final whistle.
The first significant chance of the game came to the Dynamo in the 12th when a cross from Lyle fell to the foot of Nick Hagenkord, who didn’t get a clean shot off to challenge Ivanov.
One minute later, Dupont sent Kinkopf through for a chance on goal, but the pass was anticipated and corralled by Ivanov.
The Royals would get their first scoring opportunity in the 16th when a ball swung to Brian Potocnik was advanced over the Dynamo defense to a charging David Jordan. The shot from the left back sailed over the bar.
The Royals kept pressing for a goal and were almost rewarded in the 20th from an Admir Suljevic free kick. Declan McGivern was on the receiving end of the set-piece and lofted a pass to Vinny Bell, whose headed shot hit the crossbar and was sent away from danger by the Dynamo defense.
Potoknik would create another chance in the 23rd after finding Jordan along the right channel. Jordan’s square pass to Mike Derezik was shot well above the crossabar.
The Dayton Dynamo countered the Royals chances with one of their own in the 25th minute. Lyle and Dupont combined to create a chance for Hagenkord, whose attempt near the edge of the goal area looked to cause concern for Ivanov, but the ball wide of the frame.
A stoppage in play was called in the 30th minute so trainers could attend to an apparent head injury suffered by Skye Harter. Harter was struck in the back of the head by the ball off a clearance attempt from Dynamo defender Nicholas Cozad. Ryder Bell entered the game in place of Harter.
Dynamo defender Nicholas Cozad would put his team on the board in the 38th with a powerful header off a Tate Robertson corner kick.
Fans in attendance thought Derezik equalized the match in the 53rd until the assistant referee raised their flag for offsides. Derezik started the opportunity with two key dribbles past Dynamo defenders before laying the ball left to Potoknik, who had a clear lane to goal. Potocnik’s square pass was knocked in by Derezik in the goal but an offsides was called on the original pass to Potocnik.
A counter attack opportunity arose in the 60th for Dayton Dynamo when Robertson found Dupont on the right flank. Dupont’s cross was met by Kinkopf, but not hit squarely enough to be on target.
The Dynamo nearly had a breakaway opportunity in the 76th, but the chance was cut out by Declan McGivern, who received a yellow card for a dangerous play.
Not long after, a Dynamo corner kick from Robertson in the 79th was destined for the back of the net had Jordan not blocked the shot with his face.
The Royals were suffocated by the Dynamo defense for the rest of the match and did not generate a challenge for Hulings by the time the final whistle was blown, handing AFC Cleveland their first loss of the NPSL season.
AFC Cleveland will return home Sunday for another NPSL matchup with Erie Commodores FC.