UPDATE: United German Hungarians will play the Predators on Sunday, Dec. 16 at 2 p.m. at YCS Sports in Wayne, PA. Check with TheCup.us’ Twitter account for in-game updates (@USOpenCup).
Reigning champions West Chester United scored twice and then held off a second-half surge by Cavalla FC to advance to the Eastern Pennsylvania US Open Cup qualifying tournament final. Goals by Michael Lodge and Dominic Popolizio were enough to give United the 2-1 victory.
They move on to the championship game for the second straight year, but the identity of their opponent has been delayed as the other semifinal match was postponed. The United German Hungarians were scheduled to host the Predators on the same day, but the officials determined that UGH’s home field was not playable due to the heavy rain that had fallen in the area. A makeup date has yet to be announced.
West Chester United Predators: Last season's Eastern PA Open Cup champions
United was the brighter of the two sides in the first half. After playing for about 20 minutes in Cavalla’s side of the field, United finally got the payoff with Lodge’s goal. The ball was played across the box to Lodge, who half-volleyed it past the keeper for the game’s first goal.
After the goal, Cavalla seemed out of sorts, which led to a long series of rough play. Along with numerous fouls, four Cavalla players ended up being yellow carded in the first half.
The second half was a different story. Cavalla stopped fouling as much and got a foothold in the match. Early second-half pressure culminated in some shouts from Cavalla players for a penalty shot when one of their players were taken down in the box. No call was made, however, and West Chester United soon struck again.
United took a corner kick, which made its way to the Cavalla goalkeeper, but he could not hold on. Popolizio was in the right place and the right time and cleaned up the mess
As Cavalla sent more men forward, the keeper got a chance to redeem himself, stopping several point-blank shots resulting from United counter attacks. Then, Cavalla made things interesting in the 73rd minute, scoring to make it 2-1.
Both teams had several more chances, but neither could net another goal. With the win, West Chester United advances to the final to face either Predators or United German Hungarians.
“We have big goals for this program,” West Chester United manager Vince D’Ambrosio said. “We want to be the premier location for elite talent. It would be huge to make the Open Cup.”
2013 Eastern PA Open Cup Tournament
(home team listed second)
First Round (Nov. 11) [+] Recap
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) [+] Recap
Quakertown 0:4 West Chester United
Cavalla FC 4:0 Salone
Junior Lone Star 0:3 United German Hungarians
Predators 0:0 Nether United (Predators advance 5-4 in PKs)
Semifinals (Dec. 9 – 2 p.m.)
Cavalla FC 1:2 West Chester United
Predators at United German Hungarians – PPD (Makeup date TBA)
Final (Dec. 16)
West Chester United vs. Predators/UGH
Past Eastern PA Open Cup champions:
1997: United German Hungarians
1998: United German Hungarians
1999: United German Hungarians*
2000: United German Hungarians
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