The Columbus Eagles hit the road again this week after suffering a gritty 2-0 defeat to St. Louis Fire & Ice SC last Friday night. Despite the loss, the Eagles managed to hold the division leading Fire & Ice SC to its lowest goal output of the season.
The two clubs previously squared off on June 4th, with Columbus on the wrong side of a 5-0 scoreline. Many players, including midfielder Summer Bourcier, were proud of the improved result this go around.
“We talked about it and that game to us felt like a win,” she said. “Yeah, the scoreboard didn’t say it but as a whole team that’s probably the best I’ve seen us play.
It stunk that we didn’t have our offensive threat, but we played for each other and if someone was tired, the person next to them stepped up. As a whole team, it was phenomenal.”
Bourcier is right. The Columbus players could definitely hang their collective hat on this result. Fire & Ice SC sit at the top of the Valley Division of the Women’s Professional Soccer League with 15 points and a perfect record of five wins and zero losses.
Amazingly, Fire & Ice have yet to concede a goal this season. However, Columbus is still within striking distance with a record of 3-3-0 and nine total points.
This weekend presents new challenges for Columbus. The Eagles have a difficult back-to-back road trip along Interstate-71 beginning in Cincinnati on Saturday night and finishing up in Cleveland on Sunday evening.
Columbus face division opponent Cincinnati Sirens, a team that the Eagles defeated 4-2 at MAPFRE Stadium on June 24th. The players are aware that the Sirens will be looking for revenge and try to harm the Eagles playoff hopes.
Defender Deidre Abouahmed believes that the team needs to stay aggressive.
“We have to come with the same attitude that we had for the first game,” she said. “We have to go in like we’re gonna win and not come back more complacent or more defensive minded.”
Corie Moore, a veteran defender in the WPSL, has a simple focus for this weekend. She wants to fine-tune the team’s communication in the defensive third. Her teammate Bourcier agreed.
“Corie and I are the most vocal and are the loudest on the team,” Bourcier said. “When we get tired, we get kind of quiet. We will be successful if we play for each other.”
Columbus will have a chance to build on that communication Sunday in a friendly against the Cleveland Ambassadors. Cleveland is in first place in the Great Lakes Division and was held to a draw the last time these two teams met in March.
Two good performances in these matches, although one won’t impact the standings, could create momentum heading into the final match against FC Pride.