The Columbus Eagles welcomed Toledo Villa FC to Westerville North High School for a friendly match Saturday afternoon in continued preparation for the team’s marquee match next week at Mapfre Stadium with the Cincinnati Sirens.
The scrimmage allowed Eagles head coach Mark Wise to try out some new players to get a better look at the club’s depth. He began the match with a fair amount of starters, but quickly rotated in some new personnel while keeping five or six of starters in at all times.
Toledo got on the board first, scoring in the 10th minute. Sunbury, Ohio native and Bowling Green forward Skylar Fleak found the back of the net on a goal against the run of play. Not to be deterred, Columbus continued to up the pressure in search of an equalizer.
Newcomer Jordan Helinski was very dynamic on the ball as she generated numerous scoring opportunities. Helinski was invited to play in this friendly due to her continuous improvement in training.
Another player that stood out for the Eagles was forward Lisa Nouanesengsy, who seemed to play like a woman possessed on the pitch. She hit the bar once on a shot with some venom and was in front of the net frequently.
Nouanesengsy constantly proved to be a pest for Toledo as the match wore on. The crowd would have come unglued for a goal by the forward. Her charity, Strive Soccer, raised money during the match as a portion of the proceeds for the match benefitted Nouanesengsy’s charity.
The match was still within striking distance for Columbus going into the half, but Toledo came out of the gates firing on all cylinders. They challenged Eagles goalkeeper Hannah Sargent early and finally broke through again in the 59th after a well executed counterattack. A scramble in front of the net ensued and Toledo’s Lily Rothbert made it 2-0 in favor of the visitors.
Columbus just wouldn’t accept defeat in this match. Midfielder Kelly DeNiro and the aforementioned Helinski almost combined on an excellent opportunity in the 80th minute. Toledo then sealed the game in the 88th minute as Fleak found the back of the net for the second time in the match.
Columbus would then score in added time, as Erin Brockway notched her first of the season. Brockway and Nouanesengsy almost combined again a minute later to make the match interesting, but the ball just sailed over the top of the net.
The match would finish at 3-1 in favor of Toledo. Columbus will play their final home game of the WPSL season against Cincinnati at 2 p.m. inside MAPFRE Stadium prior to kickoff for Columbus Crew SC and Montreal Impact.
Tickets are still available and if you are a Crew SC season ticket member, you get into the match for free.