Junior midfielder Kingsford Adjei reacts to a non-foul call in Thursday’s semifinal. Adjei led the team with 6 shots and 4 on goal. Photo courtesy of Griffin Quinn, Flyer News.
The Dayton Flyers men’s soccer team lost in the Atlantic 10 semifinals against George Washington 1-0 at Baujan Field on Thursday, and played the second half without talisman Jonas Fjeldberg after a dangerous head-to-head collision in the first half.
The first half went without much incident, as both teams combined for just three shots on goal. Flyers freshman goalkeeper Marc Kouadio made a solid save in the fourth minute by getting a foot to a George Washington shot, but the biggest moment of the first half came in the 27th minute.
With the ball in the air in the penalty area, Flyers senior midfielder Jonas Fjeldberg and Colonials freshman defender Aaron Kronenberg went for it. A heavy collision between the heads of both players left both on the ground for several minutes, until they both rose and made their way off the pitch with training staff supporting them. Fjeldberg had a bandage held to his head as he made his way off the pitch and towards the locker room and did not return to the game.
After the game, Flyers head coach Dennis Currier confirmed that Fjeldberg is “okay,” but will require several stitches and the team waits to hear the final word.
“(Fjeldberg) is a guy that has produced in almost every game that he has played in here,” Currier said. “(Losing him) was a let down for everyone on the team, but with that being said, we are a multi-dimensional attacking team and we do have other weapons in the attack.”
The score remained 0-0 at halftime, with attacking chances few and far between.
Currier said George Washington did a “great job” of shutting down the Flyers and had a game plan to isolate the attacking players and keep UD from breaking through the lines.
“We never really got that done.”
Not long into the second half, the first and only breakthrough happened. George Washington’s Tom Conklin sent a long ball into the penalty area from open play, and the long cross was headed towards goal by Carter Humm. The header was then answered with another header by Sandro Weber and sent into the back of the net to give the Colonials a 1-0 lead in the 54th minute.
The Flyers pressed towards a goal for most of the rest of the second half, but their closest chance came in the 84th minute when a pair of shots from junior midfielder Kingsford Adjei were saved by the Colonials goalkeeper.
“We had some flurries at the end that were good half-chances, but we just never really got on to goal,” Currier said. “That’s a credit to (George Washington). We’re leading the country in shots and I think today they did a really good job of shutting our attack down, and that’s where we became a little bit vulnerable.”
The Colonials also had a one-on-one against Flyers freshman goalkeeper Marc Kouadio in the same minute, but their shot hit the left post and left the game at 1-0 in favor of the Colonials.
The Colonials held on to that advantage through the final whistle, and the No. 1 seeded Flyers fell in the semifinals of the A-10 Tournament.
The Flyers now move into the off-season, losing Fjeldberg along with forward Wariebi Jituboh and goalkeeper Jack Steele to graduation. Currier is optimistic of the future of the team that will lose just three seniors.
“If you look at this team, with the majority being freshmen and sophomores, they’ve already played for an A-10 Tournament championship, they’ve won a league title, and we hosted an A-10 championship at home.
“I think the future looks really bright for these guys and they’ve gotten a lot of experience already. It’s typically a senior-laden team making these runs, and we’re already doing that with this young squad. So we just need a few more pieces to the puzzle, and we come back prepared after the summer, I think we can be back where we are now and knocking on the door for getting to that NCAA Tournament.”