History was made in Cincinnati as the Dutch Lions earned a 3-3 draw from the River City Rovers in PDL action Friday night at Xavier University.
It was the first-ever regular season match for the Cincinnati Dutch Lions (0-0-1), who were visited by the one and only Ruud Gullit.
The home opener was an exciting game from start to finish, with play moving from one side of the field to the other and quality soccer being played by both teams.
The Lions came out strong with good passing and held the majority of possession in the first half. In the sixth minute, a pass from CDL’s Chris Harmon to Jeff McClure led to a long touch and a quick pickup by Rovers keeper Christian Carey.
The Rovers came right back when in the 7th minute Peter May put a chip over the Lions defense finding the foot of Dylan Terry, who did not hesitate to put the ball past the Lions keeper to the right corner of the goal.
The Lions were undeterred, however, going back to playing their Dutch-style game. The 9th minute saw a shot on goal by McClure, but Carey held tight. Not to be outdone, the Rovers Ace Gonya made some runs to the goal, followed by hard shots that just missed wide and high. The ball then returned to the Lions’ possession and some great, quick passing led to crosses from both sides of the field, but the Lions were unable to finish.
The Rovers retook possession and created some crosses and chances of their own in front of the Lions goal. Shortly after, the Lions lost the ball in the midfield, causing Lions keeper Eric Oswald to have to come out to challenge Terry. He was unable to get a grip on the ball and Terry did not hesitate to put a second goal in the net in the 33rd minute. The half ended with the Rovers 2, Dutch Lions 0.The start of the second half saw the Lions come out with a roar. A build-up from the back led to Rowin Van Zaanen passing to Chris Harmon, who passed out right to Jordan Grant for a brilliant shot on the ground to the far left post and the back of the net in the 48th minute.
The Rovers did not hesitate and in the 53rd minute came with a goal of their own by Ace Gonya, who gently chipped the ball over Oswald.
Several substitutions followed and in the 67th minute Grant received a ball from Van Zaanen and took it to for a well-placed ball to the right corner of the Rovers goal.
The game really became a battle of the midfield at this point with both teams playing hard and both getting chances.
The Lions kept pressing and in the 80th minute Cincinnati’s McClure dribbled to the goal and fired one into the back of the net as the equalizer.
The Rovers wasted no time getting down to the other end and Lindo Mfeka blasted one just over and left of the Cincinnati goal.
Both teams continued to use their bench and the level of the game continued to be high.
“What I liked is the way we fought back,” CDL head coach Coach Terry Nicholl stated. “We made a few subtle changes and I think we put value in. I think we played well enough in the second half to consider it a decent performance. Because the ball was up and down the field, it was a fun and exciting game for the fans to watch.”
Cincinnati travels to take on the River City Rovers (0-0-1) again on Friday, May 16 at 7:30 pm in Louisville at Woehrle Field.