New Jersey Copa FC is the 2017 regular season champion for the National Premier Soccer League’s Keystone Conference. Goalkeeper Matt Perrella made a half dozen game-saving stops to preserve a 2-1 lead for more than 45 minutes as New Jersey Copa FC clinched its first NPSL conference regular season title by that same 2-1 margin, edging Junior Lone Star FC in the regular season finale for both sides on July 8 at Bonner Prendergast Catholic High School.
NJCFC’s win, combined with a 1-0 victory by defending conference champion Clarkstown SC Eagles over West Chester United SC, also gives NJ Copa FC the number one seed in the postseason which begins on Tuesday, July 11 at 7:00 pm at Saint John Vianney High School in Holmdel, N.J.
NJ Copa FC will host the number four seeded Electric City Shock in an NPSL Keystone semifinal game. Meanwhile, Clarkstown and West Chester will square off again in a 2/3 semifinal matchup. If NJCFC wins, it will host the conference final on Sunday, July 16 at 7:00 pm.
With the victory ad 23 points in the standings, NJCFC upped its mark to 7-1-2, including 4-0-1 in its last five games. Junior Lone Star ends the season with 13 points and in sixth place in the conference (4-5-1).
“I’m pleased we notched another positive result to conclude our regular season against Lone Star,” said associate head coach Billy Englishby. “We are incredibly proud of the body of work this group continues to build as we progress to the playoffs. Now we reset and prep for next week’s Keystone Conference playoff game; we look forward to continuing our journey.”
Perrella claimed Jersey Mike’s Subs New Jersey Copa FC Man of the Match accolades after he made a 2-1 halftime lead hold up under pressure, handled a number of tough crosses in the second half to limit Lone Star’s opportunities while making at least eight saves. He erased three point-blank shots in the first half alone.
Raphael Araujo, the reigning Mitre National Player of the Week, scored his tenth goal of the season in the 31st minute off a serve from Modou Sowe and Kevin Veliz finished a penalty kick in the 34th minute to make it 2-0. Lone Star’s Zoncher Dennis found the net in the 42nd minute to make it a one-goal differential heading to the break.