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West Chester United beat rivals FC Motown to win NESL title

West Chester lost to Motown in the NPSL playoffs and last year’s NESL final

One of the better rivalries in amateur soccer was renewed on Sunday as West Chester United hosted FC Motown for the Northeast Elite Soccer League for the second straight year.

After losing 3-1 in North Jersey in the inaugural championship game of the regional league and falling in the NPSL playoffs at home to FC Motown, West Chester United was able to overcome two equalizers from the visitors and win 3-2 to hoist the trophy for the second-year league.

“Hard fought game, we knew it was going to be that way,” head coach Blaise Santangelo said. “It’s nice to win against them at home for a change. They’re my good buddies. We keep each other up. A lot of respect. Our guys played well.”

Playing in scorching heat on Sunday afternoon, West Chester took an early lead when Troy Amspacher set Andreas Bartosinski up for a goal. Bartosinski returned the favor when he sprung Amspacher free into the box with the eventual game-winner in the 78th minute. Kyle Martyn scored off an assist from Chas Wilson in the 59th minute.

Motown twice tied the game, but Amspacher’s strike — initially saved by the Motown keeper but deflected to Amspacher for the easy tap-in — and put a lot of pressure on the West Chester back line in front of DIII All-American goalkeeper AJ Marcucci.

“It all just comes down to playing as a team and beating the heat as today was really hot,” Amspacher said. “I thought we knocked the ball around well today.”

Started last year as a kind of Champions League for Region 1, the NESL had just five teams this year — the two finalists along with Cedar Stars Academy, Steel Pulse FC and Philadelphia Lone Star — but Santangelo said the hope is to expand the field to include more amateur teams from the region.

“We’re trying to build it, get another 12 or 16 teams next year,” he said.

With the exception of Marcucci, who is returning to Connecticut College, the team on the field for Sunday’s final was similar to the one that will return to league play in the United Soccer League of Pennsylvania in a couple weeks. West Chester won their fourth straight league title in the Major division this past season.