Simon Becher scores team-leading 8th goal, Caden Stafford scores in debut, Austin DaSilva adds wonder goal
Photo: Joe Hayburn (IG: @joehayburn)
MORE: Click here to vote for Austin DaSilva for USL2 GOAL OF THE WEEK!
The Ocean City Nor'easters bounced back from their first loss of the 2021 USL League Two season with a 3-0 win over Lehigh Valley United on Sunday night at Carey Stadium ("The Beach House").
Simon Becher (St. Louis Univ. / Brooklyn, CT) opened the scoring with his team-leading eighth goal of the season, which is tied for second-most in the league. Caden Stafford (Maryland / Cincinnatus, NY) came off the bench and scored in his Ocean City debut, followed by a wondergoal by Austin DaSilva (Univ. at Albany / Brookfield, CT).
The defense was the story as Jahmali Waite (UConn / Philadelphia, PA) earned his fourth clean sheet of the season. The Storm's backline made his job easier as they shut down the Lehigh Valley offense. The visitors only managed one shot and Waite did not need to make a single save. It was the fifth shutout of the season by Ocean City, the most in a season since 2012.
The Nor'easters improved to 6-1-3 and moved within five points of first place West Chester United in the Mid-Atlantic Division standings with a game in hand.
Sixteen minutes into the game, the Nor'easters picked up right where they left off in the last meeting with Lehigh Valley back on May 19. That day, the Storm beat United 7-0 with Simon Becher scoring a second half hat trick. On Sunday night, Becher was in the starting lineup for the sixth game in a row and he put Ocean City on the board after a pass from Nick Akoto (Tennessee Wesleyan / London, England).
Despite controlling possession in the first half, the Nor'easters were unable to add to their lead before heading into the halftime break.
"We were comfortable in the game throughout," said Nor'easters head coach Alan McCann. "In the second half, we were a lot more effective and executed what we had talked about in the dressing room."
Three minutes into the second half, Becher played a through ball in to Alex Andersson (Colorado-Colorado Springs / Helsingborg, Sweden) on the left wing. Andersson dribbled into the penalty area but once the defender closed, his touch was a little too strong and the goalkeeper came out to play the ball, which took a deflection off a defender and was eventually cleared.
After a couple scoring opportunities for the Storm, they managed to double the lead in the 67th minute. Neville Morgan (Lindsey Wilson / Westmoreland, Jamaica) played a sharp through ball from the left wing into the middle of the park. Becher let the ball travel through him and into the path of Caden Stafford, who had just entered the game just a few minutes earlier. Stafford took a couple of touches and beat the keeper.
It was the second game in a row that a player came off the bench in the second half to make their Ocean City debut and scored within a couple of minutes. Akeim Clarke (North Carolina / Windsor, CT) scored his first goal of the season last Wednesday against Philadelphia Lone Star.
Stafford nearly added to the lead again when he received a ball on the left wing and dribbled into the LVU attacking third. He played a through pass into the middle for DaSilva but Lance McGrane came off his line to block the shot at close range. The ball was knocked away to the wing but Lehigh Valley's attempt to clear it was intercepted and Ocean City kept the pressure on. Stafford collected the ball near the side line, created some space and sent a well-placed ball into DaSilva who turned and dribbled to the middle of the field, just outside the box. The Albany star, who was on the Hermann Trophy Watch List to start the college season ripped an unstoppable curling shot into the far corner of the net to score his first goal of the season.
DaSilva's bending goal from just outside the box is a finalist for USL League Two Goal of the Week. Fans can click HERE to vote.
AUSTIN DASILVA'S GOLAZO
Montel McKenzie (Tennessee Wesleyan / London, England) nearly added a fourth goal in the 88th minute on an impressive individual effort. McKenzie collected a loose ball and dribbled into the penalty area from the left wing and appeared to be ready to launch a shot on goal with his right foot. Instead, with a defender all over him, he faked with his right, lost his defender and fired a low shot with his left foot which was saved by McGrane, which was his fourth and final save of the night.
With the win, the Nor'easters improve their all-time record against Lehigh Valley to 11-2-0, and remain perfect against LVU at the Beach House (6-0-0).
Next up, the Nor'easters will host Real Central New Jersey in the expansion club's first trip to Ocean City, America's Greatest Family Resort. The game is Friday, July 2 with kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m.
FULL MATCH VIDEO