The Legacy will present a stiff challenge to the Barons in the home opener. They have a long history in the PDL and a team composed of players from their regions strongest college sides such as Virginia Commonwealth Univ (VCU), Old Dominion (ODU) and William & Mary. ODU in particular had a very successful season last year and were ranked in the top ten nationally for much of the season in NCAA's Div I.
The Legacy will compete this year in the Eastern Conference Mid-Atlantic Division with the Barons in the Northeast Division of the newly aligned 3 Division Eastern Conference.
The opener for the Legacy will be a match at the Reading Rage on Friday night.
As they are each year, the first four games of the PDL season double as US Open Cup qualifiers. The record at the end of play for the month of May determines the teams that enter the Open Cup competition.
An interesting twist to the schedule has the Barons playing all non-division opponents in May and their first match in the division is not until the June 4 match at the Westchester Flames. With the new alignment in the conference each team will play 8 of its 16 games against non-division opponents.
The Barons, according to the USL's PDL preview, enter their season opener as one of the teams expected to succeed in the new alignment. That of course, will have to be earned on the pitch and the Barons have some difficult matches against non-division opponents on the schedule, and this season opener is one of them.
The Ocean City Barons have a very strong core of players returning for the 2006 campaign which will be complemented by a wave of new and talented players that will have a big role to play in this new season. Honored Barons such as John Thompson, Ruben Mingo, Byron Carmichael and player/coach Neil Holloway will all play key roles for Ocean City if this season is to be as successful as the previous two years and that will have to start right here.
Returning fan favorites such as Tommy Greenawalt, Chris Williams, Joe Banks, Matt Maher, Ryan Heins, Rich Baker Adam Sternberger and David Daigle will make substantive contributions. Look for some of the new faces to make their contributions in the attacking midfield role as well as out wide where the Barons have some big boots to fill.
From what I've seen at workouts there will be some new names that will make a positive impact on Barons fans and the outcome of this kickoff match.
See you at Carey Field for the 7:30 kickoff.
The Barons play on the road for the next two (West Virginia Chaos 5/19, Virginia Beach SubMariners 5/21) before returning home for the Friday, May 26 match with Albany.