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Junior Lone Star FC & Buxmont Torch seasons end in defeat; West Chester United stumbles into playoffs

NPSL season ends with only one local team advancing to postseason

Matt Ralph

Junior Lone Star FC and Buxmont Torch both saw their seasons come to an end with losses on Saturday in the final game of the National Premier Soccer League regular season.

That leaves only West Chester United out of the teams from the region advancing to the Keystone Conference playoffs after West Chester also fell in their regular season finale on Sunday.

First place New Jersey Copa jumped out to an early lead at Junior Lone Star FC on Saturday night at Bonner & Prendergast Catholic High School with Raphael Arujo’s 10th of the season and a penalty kick from Kevin Veliz in a three-minute span just over a half hour in.

The task got even tougher for the hosts when Vlandy Slueue was sent off in the 38th minute for abusive language. But Zoncher Dennis brought his team back to life with a 42nd minute strike, his third of the season, to cut the deficit in half.

Despite being down a man, the Stars came back from the break with a burst of momentum and saw numerous chances at an equalizer stopped by former Bethlehem Steel FC goalkeeper Matt Perrella.

Junior Lone Star had a second player sent off after a sliding tackle in the box by Yaya Fane in the 85th minute, but the ensuing penalty kick was saved by goalkeeper Boubacar Keita. That’s when things took an odd turn. The referee whistled that the kick needed to be retaken because Fane had not exited the field and a protest broke out that eventually led the referee to blow the final whistle.

New Jersey Copa’s win also clinched the regular season conference title when West Chester United fell 1-0 to Clarkstown SC Eagles on the road on Sunday.

Bryan Machado scored the lone goal in the match in the 50th minute as West Chester was kept off the scoreboard for just the second time this season. As a result, West Chester United fell to third place in the standings and will travel back to North Jersey for a playoff match against Clarkstown SC at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

New Jersey Copa will host Electric City Shock in the other playoff after the Scranton club advanced to the playoffs for the first time with a 5-0 win over Buxmont Torch at home on Saturday.

Brandon Smalley had a hat trick and Michael Bazadona and Eastern University forward Cade Harmon scored in the match for the Shock.

Hershey FC closed out its 2017 campaign with a 5-2 win over Greater Binghamton FC Thunder. Jacob Oldaker led the Hershey attack with a brace, while Christian Wieand, York College forward Joel Teston and Temple University midfielder Nicholas Sarver added goals. Teston finished the season leading the team with eight goals.