The starting lineup for both of Dayton’s previous two USL-Pro matches this year has been:
Defenders: Mettin Copier, Nixon Dias, Gregory Preciado, and Shane Smith
Midfielders: Joel DeLass, Kyle Knotek, and Mikael McNamara
Forwards: Gibson Bardsley, Gerrit-Jan Bartels, and Akeem Priestley
Goalkeeper: Matthew Williams
Midfielders Bret Jones and Eric Kissinger played significant minutes in the second half against Charlotte, while forwards Daniel Holowaty and Eli Garner both played a role against Pittsburgh last week. I think the Dutch Lions will probably use many of these same players and may even repeat the starting XI against the Rhinos.
Shane Smith is a 26 year old second year professional who previously played in the Professional Arena Soccer League. Daniel Holowaty is a 6’0″ Buffalo native and 2011 Rochester Institute of Technology graduate. Joel DeLass, 25, previously played with the Charlotte Eagles in 2010. In his first professional season, Eric Kissinger ended the 2011 Dutch Lions campaign with 4 goals in 17 appearances. Mettin Copier is a former Austrian youth international who trained in the AZ Alkmaar development structure before gaining experience in the Dutch second division (Eerste). Mikael McNamara is a SUNY Albany graduate who debuted professionally against the Rhinos last season. 31 year old Bret Jones is an Ohio soccer veteran, making the Dutch Lions his fifth Ohio-based club. Gibson Bardsley is a young forward from Washington State who made two appearances for the Charlotte Eagles last season. Matt Williams spent 2011 with the Wilmington Hammerheads but didn’t make his professional debut until this month with the Dutch Lions. Akeem Priestley played last year with the L.A. Blues and is a part of the Jamaican national team set up.
Dayton played Charlotte on the 13th to a 0-0 draw and last Saturday lost at Pittsburgh 2-0. While tomorrow is the Dutch Lions’ home opener and spirits should be high, the team has yet to score a goal. Head coach Ivar van Dinteren was a player with the Dayton club when they were in the PDL but ended his playing career to take over for Sonny Silooy who joined the D.C. United coaching staff. The 33 year old van Dinteren likes to line his team up in a Dutch style 4-3-3, but like his compatriot Aron Winter at Toronto FC, he has not found much success in this setup.
In 2011, the Dayton Dutch Lions only won 2 games the whole season and ended the campaign with a -33 goal differential. Two of the Dutch Lions’ most influential players left the club before the 2012 season, defender Joe Tait moved to the Philadelphia Union and 2011 USL-Pro Second Team forward George Davis IV headed out west to join the L.A. Blues.
The team returns a number of players, such as Joel DeLass, Shane Smith, Mettin Copier, Mikael McNamara, Bret Jones, Eric Kissinger, and Martin Sramek. But returning ineffective players may not be a recipe for success for the Ohio-based club. Either way, Rhinos head coach Jesse Myers warns about taking the 2012 Dayton team too lightly, “The Dutch Lions are a much improved team. After watching some film, it looks like they are much more organized than they were a year ago. They’re going to be a much more disciplined team.” That’s all very well, because the team could not get much worse than the side that lost 16 out of 24 games last season.
Not to count our chickens before they hatch, but the Rhinos have enough about themselves and the momentum of two road wins to be able to deal with the Dayton Dutch Lions. If that’s the case, the team can look to take a strong grip on the early 2012 season by returning home 3-0.