Thanks to Michael Berton, Jeff Livezey and William Murphy for contributing to this report.
The Eastern Pennsylvania Open Cup qualifying tournament is under way after five first round games are in the books. Cavalla FC, Quakertown, Junior Lone Star, Nether United and the Predators all advanced to the Quarterfinals which will take place Dec. 2. Those teams will join the West Chester Majors, Salone, and United German Hungarians, a two-time runner-up in the tournament (1977, 1993) who all received byes.
The state association has only had three teams qualify for the Open Cup in the Modern Professional Era (1995-present), and two of those teams were eliminated in Round 1.
Nether United 1:1 Phoenix SC (Nether United advance 7-6 on PKs)
Nether United took on Phoenix SC on a picturesque fall afternoon in Wallingford, Pa. The teams took full advantage of the weather, playing 120 minutes and penalty kicks. United came out the victors, winning 7-6 in penalties after playing to a hard-fought 1-1 draw.
“Both teams played very hard on a pitch that was still very slippery from Hurricane Sandy,” Nether United player/coach Scott Spangler said after the game.
United did not have to try very hard to score their first goal, with Matt Poole chipping the Phoenix keeper after just a minute of play. They had to try a lot harder after that, though, as Phoenix bossed much of the rest of the first half, which led to a tying goal from Jared Goldberg in the 18th minute.
In the second half, Nether United keeper Dan Spangler put in a man of the match performance to keep his team in the game. He stopped several shots and relied on his post to stop one more before things started to go poorly for Phoenix.
Phoenix, who qualified for the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup in 2011, had just one substitute available, which it used in the 43th minute. So, when a player had to leave due to injury in the 78th, Phoenix had to play down a man. Things got even worse in the 82nd when a Phoenix player picked up a straight red card for dissent, meaning they had to play 9-on-11.
“The referee changed the whole game,” Phoenix coach Blair Thomson said. “I don’t know how he gave him a straight red.”
Phoenix was able to hold on though, which sent the game into overtime. Both squads had chances, but could not convert. In the 120th minute, a Nether United player picked up his second yellow, which meant only 19 out of the original 22 players would be available to take part in penalty kicks.
In penalty kicks, both teams remained perfect through the first six rounds. Dan Spangler made a save in the seventh round for United, which opened the door for the game-winning kick to win the game.
“We’re very excited for the next round,” Spangler said. “We’re just men living the dream, and we’ll take this as far as we can.”
Junior Lone Star 6:0 Mayfair Celtic
Junior Lone Star, a team comprised of mostly West African refugees who fled brutal civil wars in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, and Guinea didn’t waste much time in their opening round match against Mayfair Celtic. They scored their first goal in the 7th minute after Ebere Goodluck set up a breakaway goal by Moses Jackson. Goodluck added a second in the 30th minute with a nice shot in the bottom left hand corner with Jackson returning the favor.
In the 35th minute, Mike Lindemann had a cracker of a shot on goal for Celtic that was denied by a diving save from Lone Star goalkeeper Prince Monyan. Mayfair Celtic had other chances in the opening half off of set pieces but the Lone Star defense stood tall to keep the score 2-0 at halftime.
The floodgates opened just after the break when Jackson added his second of the game thanks to another assist by Goodluck. Joe Joe Jappah scored a pair of goals in the 52nd and 65th minute to make it 5-0. Goodluck would add his third assist of the game, setting up Mitchell Torh who made scored on a skillful shot in the 85th minute.
Highlights: Junior Lone Star vs. Mayfair Celtic
Quakertown 3:2 Colonial Ultra
The Quakertown men’s soccer team advanced to the quarterfinals with a 3-2, come-from-behind victory over Inter-County League rival Colonial Ultra at the Quakertown Sports Complex.
Souderton High School standout and former Indiana University player Ian Clair netted the game-winner on a penalty kick late in the second overtime period to help Quakertown win a match they trailed 2-0 in the first half.
Pennridge High school grad and former Marywood University player Kyle Hill fed forward and team captain Neil Stoddart, who was fouled just inside the box, earning Quakertown and Clair the chance to put the game away just minutes before the final whistle.
Stoddart, a former Sunderland Youth Academy player and multiple-year all PSAC selection at Bloomsburg University, had a strong game in the center of the park for Quakertown; tying the match in the second half with his volley off a cross from Hill.
Former West Chester University player Frank Demas provided Quakertown’s first goal of the game, a right-footed curler from just outside the 18-yard box that rattled the post before going in.
It was a slow start and the resulting defensive lapses that plagued Quakertown during a first half when they fell behind by two goals. Quakertown’s back four of Brendan Ackley (Boyertown High School/Reading Rage developmental program), Dave Keller (Pennridge High School /Slippery Rock University), Andy Trauger (Pennridge High School), and Lou Williams (Bloomsburg University) tightened the screws during the second half and overtime; allowing only one legitimate scoring opportunity during that time, a breakaway shot that glanced off the post.
Also making appearances for Quakertown were goalkeeper Nick Lipinski (Quakertown High School), midfielder Darin Rittle (Quakertown High School), midfielder Kevin Petzold (Pennridge High School) and forward/midfielder Chris Wellington (Delaware Valley College).
These two teams know each other well and both reside in the top three spots of the Inter-County League’s top division. Quakertown also came away the winner of the two team’s last meeting, a 2-1 decision on Oct. 14.
The Quakertown team, which was founded by Hill in 2008 and won the Inter-County League’s Premier division in 2009, has been slowly acquiring talented players and climbing the Inter-County League tables since inception. They currently sit tied for first in the league’s top division after six games played.
Quakertown also advanced to the second round of the Amateur Cup tournament with a 3-2 win over the Ukrainian Nationals of the United Soccer League on Nov. 4.
Predators 1:0 Vereinigung Erzgebirge
The Predators, a club that is, according to team officials, “not affiliated with West Chester United,” edged Vereinigung Erzgebirge 1-0 to reach the round of eight. Pat Stanco scored the lone goal in the 75th minute on an assist by Tomasz Fryzel. VE hasn’t qualified for the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup since 2002, but they won the state title in 2007 and 2009. The Predators are on the opposite end of the bracket as West Chester United, will take on Nether United in the quarterfinals.
Cavalla FC 1:0 Ukrainian Nationals (Oct. 28)
Two weeks before, another past state champion was upset in Round 1 as Cavalla FC knocked off the Ukrainian Nationals 1-0 back on Oct. 28. The Nationals, who were Eastern PA champions in 2003, 2005 and 2006, were eliminated by Cavalla, who are making their first Open Cup qualifying appearance. Cavalla will take up last year’s state runner-up, Salone FC, in the next round.
2013 Eastern PA Open Cup Tournament (home team listed second)
First Round (Nov. 11) Cavalla FC 1:0 Ukrainian Nationals (Oct. 28) Quakertown 3:2 Colonial Ultras Junior Lone Star 6:0 Mayfair Celtic Nether United 1:1 Phoenix SC (Nether United advances, 7-6 in PKs) Predators 1:0 Vereinigung Erzgebirge
Quarterfinals (Dec. 2) Quakertown at West Chester United Cavalla FC at Salone Junior Lone Star at United German Hungarians Nether United vs. Predators
Semifinals (Dec. 9) TBD
Final (Dec. 16) TBD Past Eastern PA Open Cup champions: 1998: United German Hungarians 1999: United German Hungarians* 2000: United German Hungarians 2001: DiPasquale’s 2002: Vereinigung Erzgebirge* 2003: Ukrainian Nationals 2004: Lighthouse SC 2005: Ukrainian Nationals 2006: Ukrainian Nationals 2007: Vereinigung Erzgebirge (Runner-up Ukrainian Nationals also qualified for Region I Finals) 2008: United German Hungarians 2009: Vereinigung Erzgebirge 2010: Phoenix SC 2011: Phoenix SC* 2012: West Chester United Predators * Qualified for the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup