West Chester United SC and Junior Lone Star FC renewed their rivalry on Saturday night at the South Philadelphia Super Site. As expected it was a tight, physical affair from the opening whistle. West Chester lined up in a 4-1-4-1 while Lone Star played a high line, forcing West Chester to bypass the midfield with hopeful long balls.
As the game settled, West Chester was able to find an opening goal 17 minutes in from Notre Dame’s Aiden McFadden when he collected a rebound and fired far post for a 1-0 lead. It was only four minutes later when West Chester struck again. Striker Evan Vare (Lafayette College), accustomed to scoring goals, played helper to Villanova’s Luca Mellor for a 2-0 lead. 2012 NPSL Goalkeeper of the Year Charlie Sales preserved the first half score line with an athletic save in the 31st minute to preserve the two-goal lead heading into the second half.
The second half opened with West Chester’s Vito Vincent receiving the game’s first caution three minutes in. As West Chester United head coach Blaise Santangelo began bringing in players off the bench, Lone Star began taking over the match. A 62nd minute chance from West Chester sub Quinn Dudek was turned away by Lone Star’s Vincent Tasca along with another save on West Chester’s Aiden McFadden in the 74th minute. But that was as close as it would get before Lone Star’s Nyakeh Kamara pulled one back in the 78th minute. Lone Star feverishly worked to tie the game, but West Chester center back and Man of the Match Christian Williams (Lafayette College) were just too strong for Lone Star, as he anchored a back line that thwarted repeated Lone Star attacks.
An 86th minute injury to West Chester substitute RC Williams forced Santangelo to use his seventh sub. Backup keeper James Wood had to close the game at striker for the remaining minutes plus injury time and almost got on the score sheet during a late scramble inside the six.
Williams had some thoughts to share after the game.
“It’s always a hard fought battle against a well-rounded, athletic team like Lone Star. We’re happy with the result, but looking to improve all around since we have a very competitive schedule moving forward.”
Santangelo was not as optimistic.
“We need to be better. Lone Star is one of the top teams in this conference. If we want to contend, we need to finish our chances. But it’s good that we were forced to grind out a result.”
West Chester travels to NJ Copa FC on Saturday for a rematch of last season’s conference semifinal.
Contributor: West Chester United SC
Photo Credit: Vince D’Ambrosio/West Chester United SC