Tyler Watson, Kyle Galloway add goals, Owen Elliott earns clean sheet in Ocean City debut
PHOTO: Joe Hayburn (IG: @joehayburn)
The Ocean City Nor'easters cruised to a second straight shutout win in front of their home fans at Carey Stadium on Friday night. The Nor'easters defeated Real Central New Jersey 5-0 on the strength of a hat trick from Austin DaSilva (Univ. at Albany / Brookfield, CT).
Tyler Watson (Cumberland / Simi Valley, CA) and Kyle Galloway (Rutgers / Manahawkin, NJ) also added a goal each to sweep the season series against the expansion side.
The Ocean City defense was in top form again, as the backline did not allow a single shot on goal for the second game in a row. Goalkeeper Owen Elliott (Penn State / Philadelphia, PA) earned a clean sheet in his Nor'easters league debut. It was Elliott's first competitive match for the Storm after making his first appearance by starting in a 2-1 exhibition road win over the Philadelphia Union 2 back on June 19.
With the win, the Nor'easters improve to 7-1-3 and pull within five points of first place West Chester United with three games to play. WCU has just two games to play, including on July 9 when the two teams will meet at the Beach House. If Ocean City wins the remainder of their games, the Storm will win the Mid-Atlantic Division title. The top two teams in the division will clinch a spot in the USL League Two playoffs. The top third place team between the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast divisions will earn a wild card spot.
Next up for the Nor'easters will be a road game against their long-time rival Reading United AC on Tuesday night. The Nor'easters will clinch a playoff spot with a win over Reading and if Northern Virginia FC fails to defeat West Chester United on Monday night.
HIGHLIGHTS: Ocean City Nor'easters vs. Real Central New Jersey
Ocean City put the ball into the back of the net in the 7th minute, but it ultimately did not count. A long throw-in from the right sideline by Austin DaSilva sailed more than half the width of the field and was headed by a RCNJ defender. It fell to Caden Stafford (Maryland / Cincinnatus, NY) who chipped back into the box and Nick Akoto (Tennessee Wesleyan / London, England) headed the ball past goalkeeper Max Blacker, but the assistant referee called him offside.
After a couple of solid scoring chances for Ocean City, they finally broke the scoreless tie in the 25th minute with DaSilva's first goal. Kasper Skraep (Coastal Carolina / Nyborg, Denmark) dribbled the ball up the field out of the back and sent a long ball up the left wing to Stafford who ran on to the ball and tapped the ball to his right to DaSilva who was making the run alongside him. There was no defender marking the University at Albany star and he slotted it past the goalkeeper to score his second goal of the season.
DaSilva created another scoring chance for the Storm about three minutes later as he tackled the ball away from a Central Jersey player which led to Stafford chipping a through ball into the box for Simon Becher (St. Louis Univ. / Brooklyn, CT) who dribbled and took a point blank shot but the defense closed at the last second and the ball deflected over the bar.
A minute later, Tyler Watson made a pass to Stafford on the left side of the penalty area. Stafford dribbled into the box and launched a low driving, left-footed shot and forced a diving save from Blacker.
The Nor'easters continued to dominate possession throughout the rest of the half, including Tal Segev (NC State / Rishon LeZion, Israel) firing a shot from outside the box that required another diving save from the RCNJ goalkeeper in the 38th minute. Three minutes later, Becher fought off a defender on the left wing and played a clever back heel to Neville Morgan (Lindsey Wilson / Westmoreland, Jamaica) who was making an overlapping run. The Nor'easters defender and minutes leader gained the box and fired a shot that forced another save for Blacker, who was busy in the first half.
After halftime, the Nor'easters offense continued to control the game, but they found goals to back that up.
In the 47th minute, Watson made a run down the left wing and laid it off to Morgan near the sideline, who played it back to Watson on the left side of the penalty area. Watson, dribbled toward the touch line, and ripped a shot from a tight angle and beat Blacker to the near post to double the Ocean City lead. It was the Cumberland University midfielder's third goal of the season.
In the 53rd minute, the Nor'easters added a third when Theo Quartey (Villanova / Accra, Ghana), who received a pass out on the left wing from Segev and played a low pass across the box. DaSilva crashed the box and met the ball right on the doorstep and buried it into the roof of the goal. For Quartey it was his team-leading fifth assist of the campaign, which is tied for the second-most in the league.
In the 58th minute, the Storm created back-to-back chances within 60 seconds with Watson firing a shot from 25 yards out just wide of the post. Moments later, Becher sent a low pass from the left wing to Stafford who switched to his left foot to avoid a closing defender and his shot went just over the bar.
DaSilva completed his hat trick in the 83rd minute when Akoto played a nice ball out to the left wing to Montel McKenzie (Tennessee Wesleyan / London, England) who sent a crisp pass along the ground to DaSilva who redirected the ball in front of the net to beat Lou Liedka who replaced Blacker in goal for RCNJ.
DaSilva, who was on the Hermann Trophy watch list at the University at Albany this past season, became the 13th player in the Nor'easters' USL League Two club history (2003-present) to score a hat trick. DaSilva is the second Ocean City player this season to score three in a game, joining Simon Becher. Becher scored his hat trick on May 19 on the road in a 7-0 win over Lehigh Valley United.
This is the fourth time since 2003 that the Nor'easters have had multiple hat tricks in one season (2013, 2015, 2016, 2021).
Second half sub Kyle Galloway put a cherry on top of the Storm's convincing offensive performance when he scored the fifth goal in stoppage time off a free kick. Galloway was fouled at the top of the 'D' and took the free kick and curled it over the five-man wall and past the keeper. It was the New Jersey native's second goal of the season with the first coming against Real Central New Jersey in their first meeting back on May 12 in the season opener. The Nor'easters defeated RCNJ 3-0 at Mercer County Community College.
NOTE: Each team plays 14 games
West Chester United
7/5 vs. Northern Virginia FC
7/9 at Ocean City Nor'easters
Ocean City Nor'easters
7/6 at Reading United AC
7/9 vs. West Chester United
7/11 at Philadelphia Lone Star FC
Northern Virginia FC
7/5 at West Chester United
7/10 vs. Real Central NJ
FULL MATCH VIDEO