Battle Born FC defender Ben Mitcheson slides to compete for a ball with a Sierra Nevada FC forward Saturday evening. Mitcheson and the rest of the Battle Born FC defense now have gone two-plus matches without allowing a goal.
Photo by Carter Eckl.
By winning its final three games of the season, including a 3-0 win over Sierra Nevada FC (Reno) Saturday evening, Battle Born FC is officially in the postseason in its first year in existence.The club was beaming with confidence following Saturday’s result, taking care of the final portion of its schedule and rounding out the year with a 6-1-3 (W-D-L) record.“We talked about what the plan was, gathering the best talent in the area with the best coaches in the area and I feel we did that,” said head coach Andrew Robles. “It lets the community know there is talent in our are and we can compete at a national stage.”
Following Saturday’s result, Battle Born FC jumped to the top of the table in the UPSL Mountain Premier Division.
By Sunday afternoon, the club knew it would be getting another home game to open up the postseason by clinching a top-two seed.Real Salt Lake U19 bested Boise 4-2 Sunday to regain first place, but the result assured Battle Born FC of a second place finish in the Mountain Premier Division.
Saturday’s complete effort
Angel Gonzalez, who has been a goal-scoring machine for Battle Born FC, broke the scoreless tie right around the fifth minute by outworking several defenders, turning and shooting through a gap into the opposite-side netting.
“It felt great. I was honestly surprised that I hit that. I was already losing the ball, but I just shot it,” said Gonzalez of his 10th goal this season.
Defensively, the boys in white and accented blue have continued to keep opposing opportunities away from their net.
Sierra Nevada FC did put a shot off the post in the early going, but after the opening chance Battle Born’s defense kept the Reno-based squad mostly at bay.
“Just staying solid in the back and making sure we keep that clean sheet,” said defender Ben Mitcheson, who has been recovering from a broken nose.
Mitcheson was forced to play with a mask last weekend, but ditched the ‘uncomfortable’ shield and showed little hesitation in challenging attacks coming into Battle Born's defensive third.
Midway through the first half, Mitcheson came running across the box, sliding and steering a shot away from goal from an oncoming attacker.
Keeper Eli Young has been just as impactful as Battle Born FC’s shutout streak now extends beyond two games.
“I think it’s just teamwork, we pass the ball well and we have clinical strikers like my boy, Angel,” said Mitcheson.
Sierra Nevada FC started the year 0-0-4, but posted two wins in its last four leaving BBFC with no guarantees of advancing.
Gonzalez’s goal was the only tally of the first half, but Junior Mailly doubled BBFC’s lead with his seventh goal of the year on a lofted shot that caught the SNFC keeper on bad footing.
Before he knew it, the ball was in the back of the net and Battle Born had a 2-0 lead midway through the second half.
In the 78th minute, Christian Hernandez poked a steal free and floated a perfect cross to Cesar Medina, who delivered the final blow into the back netting.
“We already had our minds set that we were going to win,” said Gonzalez. “We did it, 3-0. We are off to playoffs now and we will see what else is in our way.
“How we train, that’s how we play,” added Gonzalez. “We had really good training sessions and if everybody keeps training like that we will win every game.”
UP NEXT: With two regular season games remaining across the division, Battle Born FC's postseason opponent is set in stone.
BBFC will host Kongo FC June 27 with its home location to be determined.
The two teams have split their two meetings this season with the road team winning both matchups.
Standings Games played Record (W-D-L) GD Points
RSL U19 9 7-0-2 19 21
Battle Born FC 10 6-1-3 17 19
Kongo FC 10 6-0-4 9 18
FC Spider 10 6-0-4 0 18
African Stars 10 5-0-5 10 15
Boise Cutthroats 9 4-1-4 4 13
Sierra Nevada FC 9 2-0-7 -21 6
Utah Saints 9 1-0-8 -38 3