On Feb. 20, the Columbus Eagles faced a veteran Chicago Mustangs team and lost 9-2. Saturday was a different story. The Eagles came a way with a well-earned point following a 4-4 draw in the rematch with the experienced Mustangs at home.
Columbus started the match in control. The Eagles played a high-pressure style against a Chicago team that came into its third match of the season with two convincing victories, but both at home. A few minutes into the contest, the Mustangs got a cross through three Eagles players to find their first goal.
It only took two minutes for Columbus to level the score when Chicago had a defensive error that led to an own goal. Once it was tied, goalkeepers from both teams didn’t allow a lot to get past them.
The Eagles’ Alivia Milesky took a shot that bounced luckily to Madison Costner, but Chicago goalkeeper Tatumn Damron got in its way. Right at the first-quarter buzzer, Demarchi made a big save that kept the match tied going into the second.
Milesky got the Eagles their first home lead of the season when she correctly picked where a pass was going, intercepted it and took advantage of a two-player rush and scored, putting the Eagles up 3-1. The first half of the second quarter was dominated by Columbus’ pressure but the Eagles eventually let off the gas. Chicago was fast to capitalize, bringing the score even at the half at 2-2 off an inaccurate pass in the midfield from Columbus. The Eagles could have gone behind if not for a save from Demarchi that saw her kicking away an open shot from a Mustang player waiting at the near post corner.
The third quarter saw a return to the Eagles' early second quarter form. Four minutes in, Milesky intercepts a pass in the midfield and instead of running down the turf, waited for a move from Deijah Swihart. She put a cross into Michaela Powers to give the Eagles another lead, but like the previous advantage, it was short-lived.
With four minutes remaining in the third quarter, Chicago hit a perfect shot from a yard outside of the defensive box that Demarchi got a glove to but squeaked through the top of goal.
Then there was the last 10 seconds of the third quarter.
Morgan Wolcott, who stayed in defense for most of the match, saw the clock tick to just over 10 seconds and decided to take a long-distance shot on goal. It didn’t give Columbus the lead, but it deflected off the back wall to an open Powers for her second goal of the match. Just as the ball made a smack against the wooden walls that line the Stars Indoor Sports goals, the buzzer sounded.
In the fourth quarter, the Eagles' pressure style that got their multiple leads turned into absorbing pressure and trying to break up passing lanes. Chicago took advantage with nine minutes left in regulation. That wasn’t the end of the action for the Eagles.
With five minutes left in the match, defender Monique Reventlow, who made her return after battling a tendinitis injury, had a slow-rolling toe-poke pass that Chicago pounced on. Through only a couple of passes, the Mustangs got past Demarchi, but Reventlow was able to keep the Eagles level with a clearance at the goal line.
For supporters that streamed the first home match against Cincinnati, which was relatively foul-free, Saturday’s game was a different level of intensity. When Columbus got the ball, Chicago was never too far away and gifted the Eagles a lot of set pieces throughout the match, much to the chagrin of the vocal Mustangs coaching staff. While the Eagles weren’t able to make Chicago pay for any of the fouls on the scoreboard, their set pieces were more positive than in past matches. Had the finishing on the back end of the crosses been better, Columbus could have taken all the points from the match instead of just one.
That one point still keeps Columbus in second place, and with two matches left, one against the league-leading Sirens. There remains a chance for the Eagles to come away from their 18-month time away with a trophy. Cincinnati is off this week, and up by one point.
Columbus welcomes the other Chicago PASL side, the Brujas, to their current home at Stars next Saturday at 3 p.m. ET. The match, like all home matches, can be streamed for free on the Columbus Eagles website.