The Lehigh Valley United Sonic team representing the NPSL’s Northeast Conference took to the MacPherson Stadium pitch on Friday, May 24th in the inaugural U.S. National Amateur Championship against the Croatian Eagles. This year marks 100 years of U.S. Soccer and in celebration the four best amateur teams representing their leagues are competing for a National Championship and the Hank Steinbrecker Cup.
During the first twenty minutes versus the Eagles, Sonic had a few chances come their way, but failed to capitalize. Forward Joe Sales could not convert a penalty kick after teammate Hunter Norton was tripped up in the box. But Sonic turned to their most veteran player, Tom Mustac, after a couple of combination passes inside their attacking third and Mustac put in a gorgeous left-footed strike from twenty yards in the 26th minute to put Sonic on the board.
Sonic held most of the play during the final moments of the half and throughout much of the second. Finally with fifteen minutes remaining, the Eagles made personnel changes and in desperation began to make things interesting, pushing forward in waves. Then in stoppage time the Eagles had a goal disallowed due to a questionable offside and Sonic preserved the Mustac goal to advance to Sunday’s final.
Coach Weitzman was pleased with his team’s competitive fight, but was very concerned with the youthfulness of his team and how they will need to manage the game situations better if they want to return to the NPSL Finals.
He also referred to 2012 NPSL Goalkeeper of the Year Charlie Sales’ spectacular play in the final moments.
"Charlie is a winner and he knows how to keep his team in games. We are lucky to have him on our side."
The U.S. National Amateur Championship will be decided on May 26th at 11:30am as Sonic plays the Carolina Dynamo, 3-1 winners over the Battery Park Gunners in the other semi-final match.