In their last game of the regular season, Columbus Eagles fell 4-0 to the Dayton Dutch Lions. The scoreline did not reflect the Eagles' performance, as the team just simply could not capitalize in the final third. Despite the unfortunate end to the season, Columbus showed promising signs of what is to come, especially in the team’s performance in the midfield.
It was a tough start for the Eagles as an attempted clearance off of a Dayton corner kick resulted in an own goal to put the Dutch Lions up 1-0 just a minute and a half into the match. Columbus quickly regrouped and managed to maintain more consistent possession but did not create a dangerous chance until the sixth minute with a run by forward Abby Townsend who was unable to get the ball to her options moving forward but made the Dayton defense work.
The trend was not uncharacteristic for the Eagles who have often gone down early before finding their rhythm. Unfortunately, they have not often been able to come back and was definitely not what interim head coach Mark Wise wanted to see.
Columbus continued to play the ball out of the back and got into the opposing penalty box but was unable to get shots off. The Eagles midfield dominated Dayton, but simply could not get the offense rolling.
Wise tried to help his team by dropping numbers into the midfield and switching up the formation, but amidst the changes, the Dayton players found themselves on their side of the field often. In the 28th minute, the Dutch Lions capitalized on a turnover and doubled their lead with a nice cross and finish inside the 18-yard box.
Defender Marike Mousset had a great run down the right in the 31st minute. She found Townsend, who had a great shot that forced the Dayton goalkeeper to come up with a big save to keep her team up by two.
Townsend had another great chance on a breakaway in the 34th minute but sent the shot wide.
The first chance for either team in the second half came once again from Townsend who had a run into the penalty box and sent the crossed ball just wide again. The Eagles were not short on chances, Dayton was simply taking advantage of the team’s chances much better than Columbus.
In the 52nd minute, the Dutch Lions once again capitalized on a chance, coming quickly on the counter and taking an incredible shot from outside the 18-yard box that effectively buried the Eagles in a three-goal deficit.
Columbus continued pressing and disrupting the Dayton offense, but was still unable to finish on chances of their own.
Despite playing deeper, the Dutch Lions still increased the lead after picking the ball off the Eagles' offense and making a good run down the right side. A solid cross and a header connected to put the away side up 4-0 in the 64th minute.
Columbus rounds out the WPSL season with a record of 2-1-8 and in sixth place out of seven teams in the Midwestern Conference. The Eagles have one more exhibition match to boost some morale before the end of the year. That game will take place on Saturday, July 17 against the Cleveland Ambassadors from the Ohio Valley Conference at 2:00 p.m. ET.