Courtesy of BrotherlyGame.com
One of the opening matches of the 2016 US Open Cup open division qualifying tournament featured a pair of Philadelphia area teams as Vereinigung Erzgebirge (VE) hosted Salone FC in Warminster, Pa. In the end, Salone were rude guests as they pulled off a 1-0 win to take the next step toward qualifying for the US Open Cup for the first time.
The match on Oct. 17 was a very evenly-matched fixture. Both sides applied high pressure and put an emphasis on dangerous crosses, adding to the back-and-forth nature of the game. The match started out favorably for VE, who controlled possession and had a number of shots on the Salone net through the first 40 minutes. Just before halftime, a cross from VE was put into the back of the net and for a moment it seems like the home side had pulled ahead, but the offsides flag went up and the contest remained deadlocked.
Vereinigung Erzgebirge came out strong in the second half and earned a penalty kick in the 50th minute, Anthony Bafile stepped up to take the kick but his weak rolling shot was saved by the keeper. The missed penalty completely swung the momentum toward Salone. VE began to lose the possession battle, and the game became very stretched. As Salone continued to grow into the game VE began to increasingly rely on counterattacks to generate offense, creating a fast-paced game that added a sense of excitement to the match. The pace of the match caught up with VE, they seemed to become increasingly tired as the game progressed and it opened the door for the game-winning strike from Salone.
The go-ahead goal came after VE lost possession in the midfield, Salone capitalized on the opportunity and sprung a counterattack. They worked the ball out wide and delivered a dangerous cross into the box, which was tapped into the far post to give them the lead in the 81st minute. Unfortunately, the visitors were unable to finish the game with all 11 players, after a second yellow card was issued for dissent just minutes after the goal. Nevertheless, Salone was able to hold on to their slim lead for the remaining 10 minutes and come away with a hard-fought victory.
With the win, Salone FC, who compete in the Philadelphia Premier Soccer League, moves on to host United Soccer League of Pennsylvania opponent West Chester United on Nov. 15.