WEST CHESTER, Pa. — Troy Amspacher struck late, and West Chester United defeated Vereinigung Erzgebirge 1-0 in the USASA Amateur Cup Region 1 semifinals on Sunday afternoon at Kildare’s Park.
The home side deserved the victory after creating most of the match’s chances. However, VE looked dangerous toward the end, and even hit the crossbar with under a minute to play in search of an equalizer.
Both sides looked comfortable in the early stages of the first half, with West Chester United taking a slight edge in possession. Their best efforts to break down the VE defense was via Troy Amspacher on the right wing, linking up well with Leon Maric.
Near the half hour mark, West Chester began to impose themselves further up the field. A quick counter attack set up a corner kick, and shortly after Maric had a chance to round the goalkeeper but missed his chance.
Moments later, West Chester had a neat build-up play that resulted in a through-ball in on goal. The VE defender committed a foul on a great scoring chance, resulting in a penalty. Maric, however, put his penalty in a poor spot, with goalkeeper Tim Washam only needing to dive comfortably to his right to save the first major chance of the afternoon.
Despite missing a potential go-ahead penalty, West Chester United stayed on the front foot for the rest of the half.
Vereinigung Erzgebirge had trouble clearing their lines, and West Chester routinely got the ball back in dangerous areas as the first 45 minutes wound down. However, all of the pressure didn’t translate to a breakthrough, and the two sides headed to the break scoreless.
The second half began just as the first half ended. VE Club seemed intent on letting West Chester have much of the possession and chances, while trying to hit on the counter attack.
Playing in the midday heat that exceeded 90 degrees at some points called for a water break at the middle of both halves. The pause was welcomed by VE Club in the second period, as they steadily grew into the contest with one quarter remaining.
With just five minutes left, VE looked most likely. After defending all game, they got a pair of corners, but the resulting header was sent over the bar.
West Chester worked the ball down the right following the ensuing goal kick, eventually freeing up the attackers. Chris Donovan connected with Carter Burris on a one-two, and played the ball across the face of goal. No one was guarding Amspacher at the back post, and the team’s leading goalscorer poked it home to grab the lead with under five minutes to play.
However, VE wasn’t going to go down without a fight. They sent in a long throw at the end of regulation time that wriggled all the way through to Tom Baker at the far post. Baker struck the crossbar, and the ball whizzed back towards his teammates too quickly to deflect in the equalizer.
The referee whistled the game to a close just shortly after, an agonizing way for VE Club to be eliminated. On the other side of the field, West Chester United celebrated a ticket to the Region 1 final, where they will face Lansdowne Yonkers FC. The match will be played at the Ukrainian American Sports Center in North Wales, Pa. on June 19.