The Quad City Eagles hit the road to gain a hard fought 1-0 victory over the Minnesota Twinstars on Saturday 7th June in Minneapolis, MN, before travelling to Lacrosse, WI, to thrash Eue Claire Aris FC 7-0 on Sunday 8th June.
The Eagles started the game brightly against the Minnesota Twinstars in the first of their two games, as lone striker Charles MacInnes found lots of room in behind the Twinstars high defensive line.
But it was the high defensive pressure from the Eagles that carved out an early goal for Juan Espinal on his first start in an Eagles shirt. Ryan McEvoy sent Levi Fistrovic down the right wing who crossed to MacInnes. His blocked shot fell to Espinal 15 yards out, who curled an effort into the bottom right hand corner to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead.
MacInnes broke the offside trap minutes later and had the chance to increase the lead, but his scuffed 18 yard effort fell easily for the Twinstars goalkeeper.
The Twinstars began to possess the ball well and began to come back into the game with quick passing and switches of play resulting in a number of long range efforts that never really threatened Eagles goalkeeper Chris Higgins. The game began to become a physical affair in the middle of the field, with strong tackling from Javid Wood and Paul Ledsham infuriating the Twinstars management on the sidelines.
The Eagles began the second half exactly how they had begun the first, with high defensive pressing putting the Twinstars under pressure. The Eagles best chance came after only a couple of minutes with MacInnes beating his marker in the box before smashing the ball over the bar from 12 yards.
The Twinstars again began to dominate the half with fluid passing resulting in a series of corners that the Eagles defense of Simon Brown, Mark Hiller, Geraldo Garza and Javid Wood continuously cleared to stop the Twinstars levelling the scoreline.
Tired legs began to have an effect on the Eagles as they continued to sit back and invite pressure in the closing stages of the game. But strong defensive work made sure that the game ended in a 1-0 victory for the Quad City Eagles.
On Sunday, the Eagles traveled to Aue Claire Aris FC, where Jack Rubin replaced Higgins in goal, Javi Bautista returned to the starting lineup in replace of Hendry in the midfield and Blake Ordell in place of MacInnes as the lone striker.
The Eagles began the game slowly, inviting pressure from Aris FC in the early stages. But it did not take long for the Eagles to find their stride. Both Bautista and Fistrovic punished the Aris high back line on multiple occasions down both wings, with Ordell also finding lots of space in-between the midfield and defense.
Two goals from Bautista and McEvoy, alongside goals from Fistrovic and Ordell saw the Eagles up 6-0 at halftime.
Bautista completed his hat-trick in the closing minutes of the game to secure a 7-0 win for the Eagles and complete a successful weekend on the road as they continue to defend their conference crown.
The Eagles now look to their home opener on Saturday June 14th against Madison 56er’s which is an important game in the race for the Midwest Central Conference title.
The game is at Pleasant Valley High School in Bettendorf at 7 pm.
Tickets are $5 for adults, free entry for children 12 and under with a paying adult.
Quad City Eagles vs Minnesota Twinstars (vs. Eau Claire Aris) (4-1-4-1):
Chris Higgins (Jack Rubin) (GK)
Simon Brown, Javid Wood, Geraldo Garza (c), Mark Hiller
Levi Fistrovic, Ryan McEvoy, Ross Hendry (Javi Bautista), Juan Espinal
Charles MacInnes (Blake Ordell)
Jack Rubin (GK)