The opposing Under-17 teams have become quite familiar with each other over the last couple of years. Their most notable clash came last year in the Region I Championships, in which BRYC won 2-0 to secure a trip to the National Championships. Match Fit is all too familiar with what happened after that.
"BRYC is a great team. They are the defending National Champions and one of the best teams in the country," Match Fit coach, Dominick Bucci said. "They brought pressure on us early, but we got a goal and were able to hold them off."
BRYC controlled the tempo of the game, but found it difficult to get behind the Match Fit back line. BRYC’s best chances came from U.S. Women’s Under-17 National Team player Carlyn Baldwin, whose pair of strikes came from outside of the box, but Match Fit goalkeeper, Rachel Egyed, got just enough of each shot to deflect the ball into the crossbar, and out of danger.
The tie was broken in the 41st minute, when Ashley Pankey broke loose on the right side. Despite the defense catching up, Pankey was able to smoothly send the ball past the BRYC keeper, and into the side netting.
"I thought our girls played a great game. We put a good product on the field, and I thought we played pretty well," BRYC coach Larry Best said. "They are a dangerous team on the counter attack, and they got the goal they needed."
In the second half, Match Fit continued to employ its strategy of packing in their defense. The game plan proved to be very effective as BRYC found very little clean opportunities inside the box. Kahla Seymour, who netted six goals in the US Youth Soccer National League this season, had very little room to operate for BRYC.
"They are a very technical team, and they keep the ball a lot," Bucci said. "We kept them in front of us and were able to counter. It feels pretty good to beat the defending champs."
Next up for Match Fit will be Region IV Champion, FRAM Premier (CA-S), and BRYC will take on Beadling Thunder (PA-W). FRAM defeated Beadling 3-0 today .Both games will be on Thursday, July 25 at 10:30 a.m. with BRYC playing on field seven and Match Fit playing on field eight.