As storm clouds rolled overhead at Miami Valley Hospital Stadium at Beavercreek High School, the Dayton Dutch Lions held a 1-0 lead at halftime but didn’t know when, or if, the rain would come Saturday night.
Raindrops never did fall on Frank Zink Field, but the Dutch Lions were showered with three second-half goals by the Richmond Kickers, and fell 3-2. It was Dayton’s first defeat in 10 matches.
Lions coach Patrick Bal said he told his team after the game to not focus on its first loss since May 3.
“I told the guys, ‘It’s one game, it’s not the whole season,’ ” Bal said. “We almost tied it up again in the last minute, which we’ve been doing a lot. Today, we were just short.”
Dayton found itself trailing in the second half after a two-goal burst by Richmond midfielder Luke Vercollone in a three-minute span.
In the 56th minute, Vercollone tied up the match on a penalty kick as he put the ball into the left side of the goal and Dayton goalkeeper Matt Williams dove the opposite direction.
Vercollone would strike again in the 59th minute when the ball took an odd bounce off of a Richmond throw-in near the Dayton goal. Vercollone ran and leapt into the air, kicking the ball into the net for his fourth goal of the season just before a Dayton defender kicked the ball away from trouble.
Bal said those two goals took much of the life out of the Dutch Lions, who had been aggressive for most of the match.
“It’s a PK and a throw-in, it’s two set pieces,” Bal said. “It’s not even their attack, it’s two mistakes from us. It’s two cheap goals.”
Richmond added another goal in the 71st minute when forward Michael Seaton took advantage of a misplay by the Dayton defenders and snuck the ball past Williams.
Dayton attempted to form a late rally after defender Gregory Preciado scored in the 86th minute to make it a 3-2 game. The Dutch Lions nearly netted the equalizer in extra time several times, including a header by Preciado that went over the crossbar by mere inches. It would be Dayton’s last real chance at a tie.
Bal said Richmond plays a more physical style, which made Dayton play more aggressive early in the game, including in the fourth minute when Dayton forward Brandon Swartzendruber scored his second goal of the season.
“Richmond only got nine goals scored on them in the 14 games they played, so we knew we had to get the lead,” Bal said. “You have to come up and you get more chances for a breakaway. We scored an early goal and we got the chance on the breakaway.
“We had a couple open chances in the first half and the score should have been two or three to nothing at the half. We win this game. In the second half, we make a couple mistakes and they take huge advantage of it.”
Dayton (7-3-5) will next play Wednesday against the Columbus Crew in Columbus.