AFC Cleveland and Dayton Dynamo start their seasons with one point apiece in the East Conference with a 3-3 draw in the Ohio derby.
Neither team were willing to give their opponents an inch from the opening whistle. Physical play defined the early stages of the match, but the Royals kept the field tilted towards the Dynamo end of the field for most of the first half. By the end of the first half, AFC Cleveland had a two-goal lead, and looked poised to secure three points. By the end of the game, the Royals won eight corners and recorded 17 shots, compared to Dayton’s one corner and seven shots. However, Dayton took advantage of their opportunities in the second half to rescue a point.
The goals came in bunches as the Dynamo pressed for goals in second half after conceding two first half goals in three minutes to Chris Cvecko and Vinny Bell. The Dynamo responded early in the second half with two of their own goals within three minutes to set up an entertaining final 30 minutes. The Cleveland and Dayton sides traded punches as Cvecko and Dayton’s Tate Robertson each recorded their second goals within 10 minutes of each other before the final whistle blew at Stan Skoczen Stadium.
Vinny Bell had a chance early in the first half, but his shot went right of the goal frame roughly 10 yards out.
In the 8th, Ryan Ware almost started the scoring spree early with a shot on goal requiring a desperation punch from Dynamo keeper Ryan Hulings.
The Royals finally broke the scoring in the 34th when Dan Koniarczyk played a cross from the ground to find Chris Cvecko open near the penalty mark. Cvecko calmly slotted his shot right of a diving Hulings.
Just three minutes later, Vinny Bell doubled the Royals tally when he outmuscled a Dynamo defender before finding Dynamo keeper Ryan Hulings off his line. Bell placed a masterful chip shot into the back of the net nearly 30 yards from goal.
The last chance of the half for the Royals came in the 44th when Tom Beck fed Cvecko with a through ball that required a diving save from Hulings on the shot.
Dayton Dynamo got on the board in the 54th when Tristan Lyle was played a ball on the right flank, advanced the ball, and sent a shot from the corner of the 18-yard box over the head of Musa.
Dayton’s Robertson tied the game in the 57th after the Dynamo took advantage of a three-on-one breakaway. A square touch from Lyle allowed Robertson to tap in the equalizer in front of an open net.
Robertson kept the pressure on the Royals defense in the 63rd with a breakaway chance, but was not able to convert the one-on-one opportunity after Marijo Musa met Robertson at the attempt and pushed the ball left of the frame.
Cvecko gave the Royals a momentary advantage in the 71st by slotting his second goal of the night, and AFC Cleveland’s third, when Admir Suljevic’s cross along the right flank found the Royal midfielder in traffic. Cvecko’s shot deflected off Hulings and found the right side of the Dynamo net.
Robertson matched Cvecko’s go-ahead goal with a second of his own in the 78th. Robertson’s second equalizer of the match when he was fed through the Royal backline and was able to sneak a low shot past Musa.