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Vereinigung Erzgebirge U.S. Open Cup bound for the first time since 2002

VE topped West Chester United in the final round of qualifiers for the 2020 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Sunday

Rob Oldfield was a young face in the coaching ranks in local soccer back in 2002 when he guided Vereinigung Erzgebirge to their last appearance in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

“That was a much younger me, I was a 26-year-old coach in that one,” Oldfield said after VE’s 2-1 win over West Chester United on Sunday at William Tennant High School. “That’s been the goal, getting the guys back there so they can experience what we did before.”

VE ended their Open Cup drought with the win in the third round qualifier on Sunday, knocking off their United Soccer League of Pennsylvania rivals in the process. West Chester made it through four rounds of qualifying last year and advanced to the second round against Birmingham Legion FC.

“When they were making their run last year we were rooting for them because you want to see the PA teams do well,” VE defender Mike Reese said. “Hopefully, we can go on a similar run in 2020.”

Derek Antonini headed home a long ball from Adam Bestidas and assisted on Alec Neumann’s 80th minute winner. Andrew Gonzalez cut the lead in half after moving from center back to forward with a well taken volley off a pass from Matt Greer but the VE back line didn’t relent in the closing minutes to achieve a main goal their head coach set for them this season.

“This is where we want to be,” Oldfield said. “It was a really exciting thing to be part of last time. We had the opportunity to host the South Jersey Barons at our club. We probably didn’t take it as serious but we thought we’d get a shot at this every year.”

VE lost that day 4-0 to the D3 Pro team that today is the USL League Two Ocean City Nor’easters. Their opponent in 2020 will be announced at a later date.

Sunday’s game became a win and in scenario after U.S. Soccer announced last Friday that they were canceling the fourth round of qualifying. As a result, VE and 11 other amateur teams have now punched their tickets for the 2020 competition.

“They were just taking the game to us, they got a good first goal and a good second goal,” West Chester head coach Blaise Santangelo said. “They played better than us today. They deserved it. I’m happy for my friend Rob; it was their game.”