BRADENTON, Fla. (Via Super Y League) – The Atlanta Fire United trailed early, but rallied back as Sydney Borgelt scored twice, including the decisive goal early in the second half, in a 2-1 victory against FC Virginia Elite Loudoun for the Girls U16 Division championship during the 2016 Super Y League North American Finals on Tuesday at IMG Academy.
Loudoun took the lead from the penalty spot after a foul in the area, and Keira Sharp stepped up and shot low into the left corner for a 1-0 lead. The tally seemed to energize Atlanta, which then began to put pressure on the FCV goal in search of an equalizer.
The Fire’s Shea Bonacci went close with a strong shot that was saved by Loudoun goalkeeper Gretchen Bennet, while Borgelt almost set up a chance as she kept the ball in play down the left and then sent a low cross to the back post for Kendall Hoskins, but the forward was unable to find a clean finish from a tight angle.
Bennet came up big again for Loudoun soon after as Bonacci’s low cross from the right found Sofia Black for a first-time finish toward the right corner of the net, but the Fire leveled the score as a moment of miscommunication between Bennet and a defender saw the ball bounce loose in the penalty area, and Borgelt’s tight-angle finish from the left side of the penalty just crossed the line before a trailing defender could clear.
Atlanta was awarded a penalty kick moments before halftime, but Black’s shot was saved well by Bennet to keep the game level at the break. Early in the second half, however, Borgelt got her second as she took a pass from Black in the left side of the penalty area, and hit a low finish that just found the far post.
“It was just great that all of our work paid off,” said Borgelt. “It means a lot, we’ve worked so hard, and it’s a great motivation going into more showcases.”
Black said Borgelt’s goal was the reward for the way her teammate has worked throughout the tournament.
“No matter what, she’s always down there, she’s always working, for her to do it, she deserves to have that winning goal,” said Black. “She deserves to be the one that gets us there and helps us get that championship medal.”
Atlanta looked for an insurance goal late, and almost found it when Bonucci cut past her defender onto her right foot in the left side of the penalty area, but her finish to the far post drifted wide. It proved academic, though, as the Fire held on to claim the championship.
For Black, who earlier in the week was announced as one of the first two invitees to the USL Experience in 2017 at San Antonio FC’s Toyota Field, capping off the week with a championship was the perfect ending.
“This just topped it all off,” said Black. “This is the cherry on the top of the ice cream. I can’t express how excited I am. It’s just so amazing to be selected and to be the champions of the U16 Girls Division.”