Soccer: Dynamo, Dutch Lions atop standings early in the season

New faces, new focus and a new home field – what a difference a year has made for the Dayton Dynamo FC.

The Dynamo – who spent much of last season in or near the bottom of the National Premier Soccer League Great Lakes Division standings – are in first place in the East Division at 2-0-1, including a 3-3 draw against defending NPSL champion AFC Cleveland. They will face off against the same Cleveland squad Friday in their regular-season home opener at Chaminade Julienne’s Roger Glass Stadium at 7:30 p.m.

“We were much more active recruiting young, athletic guys, many of whom want to play at the next level,” Dynamo coach Dan Griest said. “We wanted to revamp the squad to be younger, faster and more athletic. We want guys who are going to be tenacious and have intensity.”

Among the rookies who have already made an impact are midfielders Tate Robertson, of Springfield, and Chris Dupont, a Montreal native, as well as forward Matt Kinkopf, of Hamilton. Robertson leads the Dynamo with a pair of goals while Dupont and Robertson have one apiece.

While there are many newcomers on the Dayton roster, there are also a few familiar faces, including Wright State Raiders Eric Hutton, a defender, and forward Tristan Lyle, who has tallied a goal and two assists. Hutton, a junior in the fall, has already seen a difference in the Dynamo this season.

“We’re younger and fitness-wise much better,” Hutton said. “Last year, we were the team other teams expected to get a win against. We’re not that team this year.”

While the Dynamo are off to a solid start, Griest, in his second season, believes the best is yet to come for the young team.

“We’ve gotten some results, but we haven’t put our best foot forward yet,” he said. “I’m expecting big things if we can put the pieces together at the right time.”

And Roger Glass Stadium seems to be the ideal venue to showcase the revamped Dynamo squad.

“You couldn’t ask for a better venue in the Dayton area, it’s truly first class,” Griest said. “I’m excited to see it under the lights.”

Tickets will be available Friday at the gate and range from $5-$15.

Dutch Lions: The Dayton Dutch Lions FC (2-0-0) men's team also sits atop the standings after a 2-1 win Tuesday against the defending PDL champion Michigan Bucks (1-1-0). The win propelled the Dutch Lions to the top of the Great Lakes Division.

The Dayton Dutch Lions will host the Cincinnati Dutch Lions Saturday at 7 p.m. at the DOC Stadium at West Carrollton High School. It’s the second game of a doubleheader as the women’s WPSL team hosts the Cincinnati Sirens at 4 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the gate – $8 for adults and $5 for youth (6-18 years old).

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