After 439 days away from the pitch, the Lions put on their black and gold kits and took the field for the first time since early 2020.
Their opponent, Academica SC, played host to the Cowtown Classic preseason rivalry game. The two power house clubs battled for the Milk Cup Trophy.
The match featured a slew of new additions that complimented the Lions title winning core. With much of the team playing their first competitive match together coming out of COVID, it was a chance to find the groups strengths and weaknesses while developing a rhythm as a unit.
If there was one take away from the game, it was this: Once the pieces fit together, the talent rich Lions are going to be dangerous.
"It was a long time coming," said Justin Wright. "The excitement was very high to be back out on the field as a group."
The Lions, known for their lively play and attack minded offense, were on full display Saturday night. While the timing of the team was getting better as the match when on, it was clear chemistry was going to take time.
The game started off with both teams feeling out each other out. The Lions were dangerous going forward with their patented counter attack, while Academica's ball movement and dynamic forwards were finding small spaces to be effective in.
A deflected free kick put the hosts up 0 - 1 in the first half.
In the second half, Nick Hyde put home a header that was sent into the box from Nick Gasol to tie the game 1-1.
In the final minutes of the game, an arrant pass from the Lions back line led to an Academica winner as the game finished 1-2.
"I thought we played decently considering the amount of game time we've had as a group," said FC Davis winger and defender Ty Shikashio. "As we go forward and our chemistry starts to get better, so will our quality of play."
"The team is full of talent," said Shikashio. "As we get closer to conference play, we can expect to see a very unique and effective style start to develop from our guys."
Those statements were echoed by center back Jaime Robles, "Overall I thought our first preseason game went well," said Robles. "Starting in the second half, we were moving the ball a lot more and creating chances."
"You can expect all the guys to play their hearts out this season," continued Robles. "We are a team that likes to keep the ball and have possession, but ultimately our objective is to win games and secure a title."
The Lions will look to do just that as preseason comes to a close before the regular season kicks off on June 5th.
FC Davis has one closed door preseason match remaining, with a conference and playoff schedule being released later this week.