Having to “chase the game,” as the Charlotte Eagles have done for much of this season, isn’t any fun in soccer, coach Mark Steffens says.
The Eagles (5-9-2, 17 points), on a three-game unbeaten streak (2-0-1) going into Saturday’s game with the Dayton Dutch Lions, found themselves in that position again. They gave up an early goal and never quite caught up in a 3-1 USL Pro League loss in front of 700 fans at Queens University Athletic Complex.
“It’s a crazy game,” Steffens said. “We had 75 percent of the (ball) possession for most of the game, but but we didn’t do a good job when we needed to. It was a very disappointing loss, because we’ve been playing well.”
The visiting Dutch Lions took only six shots in the game, but forward Aaron Schoenfeld scored on three of them.
Schoenfeld, who took over the top spot in the USL Pro League in goals scored with 12, netted his first just eight minutes into the game, snapping a header on a cross from Cam Vickers past Eagles goalkeeper Alec Kann.
That was the only shot of the half for Dayton (5-11-2, 17 points), which clung to a 1-0 lead at halftime.
A string of Eagles near-misses reached its peak when Darren Toby’s header from inside the 6-yard box was pinned against the left goalpost by Dutch Lions goalkeeper Scott Krotee about nine minutes into the second half.
“We don’t have a potent offense, so we have to take advantage of the opportunities we have to score,” Steffens said.
The Eagles finally broke through with the equalizer in the 59th minute. Defender Jon Leathers, a former Furman standout, controlled a loose ball in the 18-yard box and rolled it through the legs of a couple of Dayton defenders to tie the game at 1.
But the Dutch Lions took a 2-1 lead in the 76th minute on another Schoenfeld header, set up by a cross into the box from Shintaro Harada.
Dayton put the game away four minutes later. Charlotte goalkeeper Kann took down a Dayton player with a hard tackle in the box on a breakaway attempt, and received a red-card ejection.
Schoenfeld took the penalty kick and blasted it past Eagles backup goalkeeper Brock Duckworth, who entered the game following Kann’s ouster.
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