F.C. London player Mike Perraria and his F.C. London teammates celebrate their second goal, in the 36th minute, of their 2-1 win over the Dutch Lions on Friday (Picture by Cam Vassallo). The night was "Kick For A Cause" night as F.C. London wears pink jersies and raises money for breast cancer annually on this weekend. For the Dutch Lions, the rest of the week wouldn't get much better; as the Lions would drop their second game as well, despite dominating the Toronto Lynx in the possession and shots department. The weekend would continue to get worse for Dutch Lions fans in Dayton and worldwide as the Netherlands came up short in their third World Cup final as well.

In London on Friday against Forest City

The Dayton Dutch Lions traveled north into Canada for a two-game trip against FC London and the Toronto Lynx, only to come up pointless, after a rough start in each of its games.

The first match at TD Waterhouse Stadium was a battle between two of the top-ranked teams in the Great Lakes Division, as Forest City London would create many early opportunities; as the Canadian side showed a lot of heart and effort coming out of the gates at their home field.

The game remained scoreless until the 22nd minute, when F.C. London striker Alan McGreal was taken down in penalty area by a DDL defender. McGreal then stepped up to the spot and converted the penalty to make the score 1-nil. F.C. London would keep the pressure on, as Mike Perraria received a Luke Holmes pass in the 36th minute and then roped the ball into the net with his right foot to make it 2-0 FC London.

The Dutch Lions came up with a few of their own opportunities in the first half, but no opportunity was threatening enough to create a goal. Therefore, at halftime, Dayton Dutch Lions Head Coach Sonny Silooy had to address the lack of legitimate scoring opportunities, as well as the lack of pressure on the ball when F.C. London had possession. Silooy looked to change these issues by changing the shape of the Dutch Lions and this paid dividends as the Dutch Lions would fully control possession and play in the second half.

These changes would eventually lead to a Dutch Lions comeback in the second half, sparked by DDL F.C. midfielder Andrew Giallombardo who made a tricky move and then slotted the ball home in the 58th minute, cutting the deficit in half, 2-1 FC London.

The Dutch Lions attacked the last 30 minutes, pushing the London-based team deep into their own defensive third. This pressure finally led to a chance to equalize in the 89th minute when a hustling Steven McCarthy, just on five minutes prior as a sub, had a perfect chance from 5 yards away to tap in the equalizer. However, McCarthy’s redirection would sail over the crossbar.

The Dutch Lions couldn’t get the equalizer, and would leave for Toronto with a disappointing 2-1 defeat at hand. The result would put the Dutch Lions five points behind F.C. London, with only three games remaining on the PDL season.

In Toronto on Saturday against the Lynx

Just 36 hours after a 2-1 defeat against F.C. London on Friday, the Dayton Dutch Lions had to pick themselves up to gain a vital three points against a weaker Toronto Lynx side on Sunday. On a blistering hot afternoon, the Dutch Lions kicked off a noon affair against Toronto, with their minds still half on Friday night’s disappointing result against Forest City and one eye on the Netherlands World Cup final later in the day. The Dutch Lions would have the majority of the possession and chances in this game, but the Lynx would steal the game slotting in two goals on a total of three opportunities all game. The Dutch Lions couldn’t find any sort of reply to the Lynx’s fortuitous goals, keeping the ball on their feet for too long in Arjen Robben fashion; leading to, after 90 minutes, a 2-nil shock victory for the Toronto Lynx over the Dutch Lions.

The Dutch Lions held 70 percent of the possession throughout the entirety of the game, with an unofficial 15-4 shot advantage in the match. But, the Lynx would find an early score that might of took the wind out of the Lions sails; As in the 20th minute, Lynx midfielder Jean Tshimpaka stole the ball on a defensive lapse by the Dutch Lions and slotted a shot past the diving Oscar Moens to make it 1-nil Toronto.

With a 1-0 deficit at the halftime break, the Dutch Lions would recharge, make some switches tactically, and come out pressing the Lynx with an even greater attack. This led to results in the 55th minute, as Dutch Lions winger George Davis IV’s technically, acute dribbling would frustrate the Lynx defenders; who would chop down Davis right outside the box resulting in a free kick. Julius Wille would step up confidently to take the free kick, hitting the upper 90 bar in the process for a Lynx goalkick. The Dutch Lions could not believe their luck, hands on their heads, but would keep on pressing.

In the 60th minute, this pressure would lead to another opportunity, as Julius Wille served a beautiful corner kick to Hans van de Haar who chested it to the onrushing Kyle Segebart; Segebart placed it near side net for the tying goal, but the referee called a hand ball on van de Haar.

Just four minutes later, in the 64th minute, van de Haar laid the ball back to Johan Wigger. Wigger stepped up and shot a rocket to the left post, but just missed wide by a foot. Then moments later, defender Kyle Segebart, took the offense into his own hands with a second opportunity to level the game; as Segebart headed a Wille corner just inches wide of the crossbar. DDL continued searching for their elusive first goal on the day.

In the 70th minute, two non-calls by the center official continued to frustrate the Dutch Lions. As Julius Wille had a clear opportunity to put a full-volley on target from 14 yards away. But, as Wille turned to kick he was taken down in the box, losing his chance to put his rocket strike onto the Toronto net as play continued.

The Dutch Lions wouldn’t bother keeping their minds on the referee’s decision for too long, as substitutes Jeff Popella and Steven McCaarthy would both come in and create solid opportunities. Popella would cut into the middle of the field and rip a momentous volley that sailed just high. McCarthy with consistent pressure up top in the final 15 minutes would create three opportunities as well.

However, as it goes in soccer, when a team does not convert their chances, that team opens themselves up for a surprise goal against the run of play. This was the story on the Dutch Lions day, as the Lynx would find their security goal in the 82nd minute by Tshimpaka on the counterattack. Adding salt to the wound, moments later, DDL’s Giallombardo would receive a very questionable red card on a non-contact fall to the pitch.

As the whistle blew, there would be no Dutch Lion delight on the day for DDL F.C.; As the Dutch Lions left Canada with zero points, when the squad needed to pick up a full six points on the road trip to secure the top spot in the division. Instead, now the Dutch Lions (23 points) find themselves, with two games left, five points back of F.C. London (28 points) and three points back of the Michigan Bucks (26 points). To make matters worse, the other Dutch Lions (the Netherlands national team) would have their hopes crushed as well three hours later; as the Dayton Dutch Lions players watched from their hotel in Toronto.

The Dutch Lions two remaining games on the season are against Kalamazoo (at home) and Chicago (away). The Lions must win these two games and look for a little help to receive a playoff bid. DDL will play an exhibition match this Tuesday at 7pm in Piqua, Ohio before hosting the Kalamazoo Outrage at its home season finale on July 17th at 1 p.m.
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