West Chester United’s run to two regional cup finals continued on Sunday with a 3-0 win over Appalachia Steel to advance to the Region 1 semifinal for the National Amateur Cup.
Unlike their previous wins in both the National Amateur Cup and Werner Fricker Cup over rivals Christos FC, the Predators didn’t have to travel to Maryland for Sunday’s match and they didn’t have to come from behind either.
After threatening to open the scoring in the first half on multiple occasions, West Chester United was finally able to break down Appalachia Steel’s strong defense to score three times in the second half and shut down a Steel front line led by a familiar face in former Penn Fusion and Episcopal Academy striker Quinn Dudek. West Chester University alum Andrew Slater also played in the game for the visitors.
“We just needed to get the first one,” head coach Blaise Santangelo said. “The pressure was on us more than it was on them; we were controlling the game. They had some big guys, and they were always going to be dangerous if they got a restart up the field but I think we showed that we were the better side on the day.”
The breakthrough came through Jake Gosselin in the 55th minute when he cleaned up a shot from Troy Amspacher with a tap-in. Amspacher won a second ball in the box, spun and fired a shot the Appalachia keeper — who had subbed in early in the first half for the injured starter — wasn’t able to stop cleanly.
“I think we were just overthinking things in the first half,” Gosselin said. “We put in two really good goals in the second half. Mine was a tap-in but the build-up was really good on all three.”
Amspacher was involved in all three goals on the day, recording assists on Spencer Burkhardt’s goal in the 61st minute and substitute Dominick Bachstein’s in the 86th minute. Seidu Shamsudeen had a secondary assist on Bachstein’s goal and the two substitutes, along with veteran Chas Wilson provided a big lift off the bench for the Predators to close things down at the end.
Defensively, the back line wasn’t tested often and goalkeeper Dane Jacomen was only called on a couple times to make stops to secure the clean sheet.
Sunday’s win sets up a Region 1 National Amateur Cup semifinal on May 15 at Nova FC. The Predators will host Amherst Sharpshooters the week before for the Region 1 semifinal of the Werner Fricker Cup. The Region 1 finals for both cups will be played at the Philadelphia Ukrainian Nationals home on June 18 and 19.
“We’re just taking it one game at a time and wanting to do the work during the week in training,” Santangelo said.