By Charles Cuttone
Lehigh Valley, Pa.-based FC Sonic is making its second trip the NPSL Finals, coming into San Diego this weekend with an impressive record of 10-4, and with back-to-back wins over two of the east’s powerhouse teams, the Brooklyn Italians and the New York Red Bulls U23 Academy.
FC Sonic will kick off the NPSL Final four with the first semifinal game on Friday at 3pm PT at Del Norte High in San Diego, against the Madison 56ers.
Sonic’s ascent in the Keystone Conference has been due in large part to the team’s defense, backstopped by goalkeeper Charlie Sales, who has posted 10 clean sheets this year.
Coached by David "Whitey" Weitzman, the team is, according to general manager Matt McTish, a virtual Lehigh Valley all-star team, with almost all of the players having played either high school or college soccer in the valley.
Weitzman has coached FC Sonic for three years and also is making his second trip to the finals, guiding the team there in his first year as the coach before falling in the semifinal game to eventual champion Sacramento Gold. They finished in third place by beating another one of this year’s final four teams, the Madison 56ers, in the consolation game.
Last season, the club failed to make the playoffs, finishing second to Erie in the Keystone Conference.
In addition to a solid defense, FC Sonic has some punch upfront, including leading scorer Cody Antonini, who registered five goals but has been hampered by an ankle injury for much of the season. Tom Mustac, one of the scorers in Saturday’s 3-2 win over the Red Bulls, chipped in with four goals this season, while Joe Sales, the goalkeeper’s brother, had three goals, as did Leslie Frazier.
"They increasingly got better as the season wore on,” McTish said of the team.
The team’s name is the product of a three-year sponsorship agreement with the local Sonic fast food franchise, and the FC comes as a nod to the team’s youth affiliate, FC Lehigh Valley. The team is run by the non-profit Soccer Association of the Lehigh Valley and, as part of its youth programs, does a series of free soccer camps for kids the region.
Charles Cuttone is Executive Editor of Philly Soccer News