Cincinnati Dutch Lions kicked off the official season midweek vs the Flint City Bucks at home. Both teams have been undefeated in preseason and the matchup was tough from the start. The Bucks who historically have been on the toughest teams in Great Lakes Division brought their former and winning manager Demir Muftari back this season after finishing fourth in the conference a year ago. Both teams play an aggressive press and the match was as physical as advertised.
Quick to the whistle
The match official quickly tried to keep the match in check by calling fouls when each teams press would result in a foul. This worked for a time but both teams seemed to get jammed up in the middle of the pitch resulting in turnovers. Bucks played more of a trap press with two defenders closing down the ball. CDLFC used more of a single man quick press to rush passes and generate turnovers. In the seventh minute, they got their chance on a breakaway. Flint City Bucks fouled Connor Probert in the box and the Dutch Lions earned the penalty kick early. Alex Willis took the kick and buried it to put the Dutch Lions up early.
Bucks clog the midfield
Despite going down early, Flint City did not change a thing. They stuck to the plan and continued duel pressing Cincy forcing turnovers and generating possession. Unfortunately for the Bucks, they could not find a good ball into the box and when they did Storm easily gobbled it up. In the thirteenth minute, Storm made a great save to stop a header from Parente and came up big again in the 29th. Flint City took on more of a possession-based role with Cincinnati working towards dangerous counters.
Penalty for you, Penalty for me
In the 39th minute, Flint City earned a free kick from outside the box. The official saw a shove which looked to be off the ball and quickly called a penalty kick for the visitors. CFLFC keeper Wesley Storm was carded for holding up the kick but then nearly saved it as Popovic’s kick bounced off the post and into the net. With the game level at the half, both teams headed to the locker rooms on PK’s.
Cards come out
The second half picked right back up where the first left off and the match got chippy. Sapon-Amoah went into the book first for a retaliation foul. Greive and Andreassen followed right behind him after arguing with the official. Ybarra goes into the book for the Bucks after a hard challenge. Adding their names to the book afterward were Phillipe and Guglielmi for the visitors. Finally, after some substitutions, Cincy launched a late match attack and challenged the Bucks over and over in the final minutes of the half. They were unable to land the goal and in the last few seconds, Flint nearly stole the match. Countering after a Cincy attack, Philippe caught Storm outside his net and tried for the chip shot goal. His shot sailed over the net and the match ended in a 1-1 draw.
- Flint City Bucks were able to create opportunities by trapping Cincinnati in their press. The Dutch Lions needed more movement towards the ball to allow players to pass out of the press.
- Cincinnati Dutch Lions look scary on counters. Last Friday they held possession but this match showed they can play without it. Cincy created some turnovers in midfield against the run of play and forced Flint City to foul, one of which resulted in a PK.
- Playing the Bucks early was a good test for the Dutch Lions. Flint City is a really good club and historically are always near the top of USL League 2. A draw to start the season is not a bad result but they will want to snag a match against them later in the season.
The Cincinnati Dutch Lions play again Saturday in a friendly vs their rivals the Dayton Dutch Lions.