Unbeaten streak at six despite offensive struggles
OCEAN CITY, NJ (June 23, 2006) - After nearly a month without a home game, the Ocean City Barons (3-1-5, 14 points) returned to Carey Stadium and were unable to find the back of the net in a scoreless draw with the Albany Admirals (3-3-2, 11 points). The last time the Barons played at Carey Stadium, they won 2-0 against the very same Admirals squad back on May 26. The Barons, who in recent years have been known as one of the highest scoring teams in the PDL, have only breached the two-goal barrier in a game once this year. The draw extends the club's unbeaten streak to six games, and their regular season home unbeaten streak to 26 games.
Issey Mahalo was rarely tested on his way to his second clean sheet of the 2006 campaign. With 14 points, the Barons stay one point ahead of the Delaware Dynasty for second place, and six points behind the first place Westchester Flames. In the opposite net, Pete Cappiello of the Admirals was kept busy, allowing his team to preserve an important point on the road, giving them sole possession of second place in the New England Division.
Much like their previous matches, the Barons created numerous chances but simply were unable to finish. After a lackluster opening 20 minutes, the Barons started to break into the Albany defense when Rich Baker sent a through ball into Ryan Heins who forced Cappiello to make the first of his six saves on the night.
Just before halftime the home side nearly broke through again when Jeremy Ortiz drew a foul a few yards outside the penalty area. Moments later, Ryan Heins' free kick sailed inches over the bar.
In an effort to shake up the lineup to hopefully provide a spark to the offense, head coach Neil Holloway brought Ruben Mingo and Byron Carmichael off the bench. In the 53rd minute, both players entered the game and nearly paid immediate dividends.
Five minutes later, Mingo struck the ball across the penalty area and Heins volleyed it toward goal at point blank range, but was denied by a diving Cappiello at the near post.
Mingo found himself with another scoring chance when a through ball put him into a one on one situation with the keeper in the 73rd minute, but his first touch failed him and the Albany keeper was able to come off his line to make the stop.
Mingo nearly struck again four minutes later when he crossed the ball in front of the goalmouth and Scott Hawkins, who also came in as a second half sub, received the ball in an awkward position and couldn't put it on target.
Finally, the best chance of the match came in the 84th minute when Hawkins' received a pass on the right wing and his defender fell down, leaving him wide open. The Whippany, NJ native saw his chance, had his sights set on the far post, but struck the ball wide to the left.
Next weekend, the Barons will take part in their final road trip of the 2006 season when they visit the Vermont Voltage and the Cape Cod Crusaders next Saturday and Sunday respectively. When they return home, they will close the season with five straight home games.