The Weekend Ahead: Royals Open League Campaign Against In-State Rival

AFC Cleveland Royals vs. Dayton Dynamo
Saturday, May 13, 2017, 7:00 p.m.
Stan Skoczen Stadium; Independence, OH
Game 1: 2017 NPSL Regular Season

The Royals return home from their U.S. Open Cup victory against Des Moines Menace to kick off their championship defense against in-state rival Dayton Dynamo this Saturday. This will be the first time the two Ohio-based NPSL clubs have met since AFC Cleveland won the I-71 Cup against the Cincinnati Saints, who relocated to the club’s current Dayton location and adopted the Dynamo name in 2016.

Both clubs will look to secure an early edge in the East Conference of NPSL’s Midwest Division in their first of two regular season ties.  The Royals hope to extend a home unbeaten run dating back to the 2014 NPSL regular season, while the Dynamo will want to improve on last year’s one-win performance in the Great Lakes West Conference.

Though the core of the Royals championship roster is returning in 2017, Head Coach Mike Sesar will be juggling a reloaded roster full of club veterans and promising young talent capable of stepping in for players short on rest from Wednesday’s Open Cup match. Sesar touched upon the challenge of acclimating some of the club’s new additions with the rest of the squad in such a short amount of time.

“We have been fortunate to have our core guys from last year’s championship squad in pre-season training so far,” said Sesar. “The challenge has been waiting for our college players to return home from school, and the work of molding the squad has to wait until everyone is in training.”

Sesar expects the Dynamo to provide a tough challenge to start the season.

“We are looking at our opponents, Dayton Dynamo, who just played Detroit City FC in a pre-season matchup and tied 2-2,” said Sesar. “They were down 2-0 and came back to tie up the match, so they are a resilient side. I expect a great match Saturday evening in front of our home fans.”

The Royals will travel to Dayton for a reverse fixture later this month, May 26.

Tickets for the home opener are available for only $6 at afccleveland.com/tickets. Season passes for every AFC Cleveland home match this season, excluding potential NPSL playoff matches, are also on sale for only $40.

Photo Credit: Joe Sprunger