Thursday, July 11, 2013

7.11.2013: Did Crew Boot Their Dutch Lion Neighbors Out Of USL Pro Playoffs?

USL Pro veteran, former J-League player Shintaro Harada should keep the Dutch Lions on playoff path despite loss to Crew.

7.11.2013: Did Columbus kick their Dayton Dutch Lion neighbors out of the USL Pro Playoffs, on Wednesday?

The Dayton Dutch Lions were in good shape playoff-wise. But, after dropping two straight results to Richmond and the Columbus Crew Reserves (which in a weird way counts for USL Pro's standings in 2013), Dayton is having a bad week and may be in trouble.

In tonight's game, Dayton Dutch Lions manager Patrick Bal was red carded, and soon after the Crew slinked away with a 3-1 win late, off the toes of Tyson Wahl and Tony Tchani. 

The Dutch Lions stand in 7th place, the top 8 teams out of 13 make the USL Pro playoffs. Currently, the Dutch Lions are 5 points ahead of the 9th place Wilmington Hammerheads.

Before this week, Dutch Lions management and coach Patrick Bal were on a 10 game unbeaten streak. 

Now with two defeats, DDLFC are staring down a tough road in the schedule, and may be going on a little bit of a less desirable run. 

The Dutch Lions now play league leaders Orlando City in a pivotal game at home on Sunday, then they play Wigan Athletic on Tuesday (which for pride reasons may force them to play starters, I've worked with DDL and I'm sure they'll play mostly starters), then three days later there away to 6th place Charleston, then the next day they play 5th place Charlotte away, and 3rd place Harrisburg away four days after that. 

How the Dutch Lions play against Orlando City on Sunday will determine their playoff fate. A big win over the league leaders will get them going again, a loss and it may be curtains (or on the outside looking in) after the three game road trip. 

If they can go .500, they play Antiqua at home on July 26th, Antiqua has no wins and is -53 in goal differential this season. So, .500 the next few weeks and then an Antiqua win should be enough for the Dutch Lions to make their first playoff appearance ever, in any sort of league.

By the way, think the Crew had it rough last August when they were playing Saturday, Wednesday, Saturday, Wednesday ever week? 

The Dutch Lions from July 14th to July 26th, will play 6 games in 12 days. On average, that's a professional game every two days.

USL Pro has to be fun on the legs, especially when they're traveling to Charleston, SC by mini bus. 

So, did the Columbus Reserves come back on Wednesday help kick the Dutch Lions out of the playoffs? No. The Dutch Lions will step up and win over league leaders Orlando City at home in a big win Sunday. Then they'll at least win one of the three on the road, and will definitely beat Antiqua; that should be enough to give them some distance from 9th place.

Sure, the Dutch Lions have to be disappointed not to pick up some points this week.

Dutch Lions Manager Patrick Bal got kicked out of the game, and twice out of two portions of the stands tonight; so dropping the lead against the Crew Reserves got the Dutch manager feeling some pressure and acting a little loopy.

But, even though there 5 points away from missing the playoffs. There also only 8 points away from winning the league, which could be five with a win against Orlando City on Sunday.

I like following what's going on in USL Pro, should be an interesting run-in to the end of that league's season.

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