Recap of the season with audio highlights
2007 saw a lot of changes to the Ocean City Barons PDL squad. The only thing that didn’t manage to change was their success on the field.
Long-time Ocean City High School head coach Mike Pellegrino took over the Barons coaching duties, and enjoyed a tremendous amount of success with a relatively young team in his inaugural season. The club finished with a 9-3-4 league record which was good for second place in the Mid-Atlantic Division and their third trip to the playoffs in the last four years. Carey Stadium continued to bring the Barons a great home field advantage, as they finished with a 6-1-1 record at The Beach House to improve their all-time regular season home record to 17-3-4. Coach Pellegrino also guided the team to their pinnacle moment of the season with a 1-0 upset of the USL Second Division’s Crystal Palace Baltimore in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
2007 Ocean City Barons Audio Highlights
|5/22 - Ocean City 5:0 Reading Rage|
|5/25 - Ocean City 1:0 Richmond Kickers Future|
|6/12 - Ocean City 1:0 Crystal Palace Baltimore
(U.S. Open Cup 1st Round)
|6/23 - Ocean City 1:0 Virginia Legacy|
|6/26 - Ocean City 1:2 Harrisburg City Islanders
(U.S. Open Cup 2nd Round)
|7/8 - Ocean City 2:0 Northern Virginia Royals|
|7/14 - Ocean City 2:1 Fredericksburg Gunners|
|7/18 - Ocean City 3:1 Delaware Dynasty|
The Pellegrino Era began with a seven-game unbeaten streak, which helped the Barons qualify for the U.S. Open Cup. The first four games of the season double as Open Cup qualifiers and the Barons finished that stretch with a perfect 4-0 record with road wins at the Delaware Dynasty (1-0) and the West Virginia Chaos (3-1). Then they opened their home schedule at Carey Stadium with a 5-0 thrashing of Reading and a narrow 1-0 win over the Richmond Kickers Future that clinched their place in the tournament.
A convincing 4-0 win at the Northern Virginia Royals built some momentum as the Barons headed into their first round Open Cup matchup against Crystal Palace Baltimore on June 12. The visitors helped out the Barons when Harold Urquijo, Crystal Palace’s Colombian youth international, was shown a straight red card for elbowing Barons defender Adam Ennis. Even down a man, Palace fought hard, but Byron Carmichael’s goal just before halftime proved to be all they needed to move on to the second round. The Barons defense, who had only allowed one league goal in their first six matches at that point in the season, held strong for the remainder of the match and finished with a 1-0 upset win. Adam Edwards made eight saves and was a nominee for USOpenCup.com’s Player of the Round award.
When league play resumed, the Barons suffered a slight letdown when they were held to a 1-1 draw at home against West Virginia. The equalizing goal scored by Chaos forward Peter Kariotis in the 43rd minute snapped the Barons club-record 460 minute shutout streak.
A couple of streaks ended on June 20 when the Barons traveled to Hampton Roads to take on the first place Piranhas. The Barons’ seven-game unbeaten streak came to a close, and the game marked the first loss in a Barons uniform for goalkeeper Adam Edwards, an unbeaten run of 14 matches (8-0-6). The game was a battle of the two unbeaten teams in the division, and the Piranhas had yet to allow a single goal to that point. The Barons would fall 2-0 in a hard fought match that saw Adam Ennis sent off in the second half. Hampton Roads’ shutout streak continued for ten matches, which broke the all-time PDL record.
The Barons would bounce back with a 1-0 win over the Virginia Legacy, thanks to a first half goal by Carmichael. It was the sixth shutout of the season for Edwards, which established a new single-season club record for clean sheets.
Best PDL home records since 2005
Carey Stadium was selected as the host site for the second round of the U.S. Open Cup on June 26 when the Barons welcomed the Harrisburg City Islanders of the USL Second Division. The game featured the return of two former Barons to the Beach House: City Islanders’ midfielder Brian Devlin and goalkeeper Matt Nelson. Over 1,000 fans packed into Carey Stadium to watch one of the more entertaining matches of the entire tournament; a game where the winner would play DC United of Major League Soccer in the third round.
The Barons struck first with Leon Brown scoring a first half goal, only to have Harrisburg’s Chad Severs equalize just minutes later. Harrisburg’s David Schofield would score what proved to be the game-winner in the 48th minute, but the Barons nearly equalized on multiple occasions in a frantic second half. Three balls were cleared off the Harrisburg goal line and Matt Nelson made eight saves. Edwards was also heroic for the home side, making 15 stops, but the Barons would fall short, 2-1.
Once again, the Barons would struggle in the games following an Open Cup match. They played two games in two days on the road and managed a draw at Richmond and at Virginia in both games. However, in both games, the Barons fought back from 2-0 first half deficits to steal a point.
With the final month of the season, it was the push for the playoffs and the Barons needed three wins to clinch a spot in the postseason, and with four games at home in July, they achieved that goal. They began with a 2-0 win over Northern Virginia, followed by Jeremy Ortiz scoring a pair of goals to lift the team over Fredericksburg, 2-1. Ocean City High School graduate Kyle Evans made the PDL team of the week with two goals and an assist in the playoff-clinching 3-1 triumph over Delaware.
The Barons clinched second place with two games left on their schedule, allowing them to rest many of their regular starters in their last road game at Reading. The Barons would lose on a stoppage time goal by the Rage in a barnburner of a match, 5-4. It was the first loss to Reading in club history (5-0-3) (The unbeaten streak does not include the Barons’ 2-0 exhibition win over the Rage in 2003 when Reading was a professional club).
2007 Ocean City Barons
In the regular season finale, the Barons took on the Mid-Atlantic Division champion Hampton Roads. Even with the Piranhas playing down a man for the vast majority of the second half, the visitors were just too strong, downing the Barons 4-1 to finish the season 14-0-2. Only eight teams in the history of the PDL, including the 2004 Barons, have finished the regular season undefeated and the Piranhas joined that elite company with that victory.
Carey Stadium was selected by the league to host the Eastern Conference playoffs, where they welcomed the Piranhas back to the Beach House to take on the Brooklyn Knights, the second place team in the Northeast Division. No team that has ever finished the regular season unbeaten has advanced beyond the conference playoffs, and the Piranhas kept that streak alive after losing a dramatic penalty kick shootout to the Knights.
In the second half of the conference playoffs doubleheader, the Ocean City Barons were eliminated from the postseason in controversial fashion by the Northeast Division champion Cape Cod Crusaders. Ocean City had two players sent off in the opening 24 minutes, and despite holding the Crusaders to a 1-0 scoreline at the halftime break, the nine-man Barons finally succumbed to Cape Cod 5-0.
Ocean City Barons
The Brooklyn Knights would close out the season of PDL soccer at Carey Stadium with the Eastern Conference championship the following day, defeating Cape Cod 1-0 thanks to a first half penalty kick. They would fall out of the tournament the following week in the national semifinals, losing to the Michigan Bucks in a penalty kick shootout.
The 2007 season was highlighted by a couple of impressive individual achievements. Byron Carmichael led the Barons in scoring with nine goals and four assists in 12 games. Not only that, but Carmichael finished the season on the brink of breaking the club’s all-time scoring record. He finished the campaign with a career total of 35 goals, 14 assists for 84 points, which places him second behind Ruben Mingo in all three categories.
Jeremy Ortiz, last year’s team MVP, followed up with another impressive season. He matched his 2006 scoring total exactly with eight goals, two assists in 15 matches.
In addition to Adam Edwards breaking the club’s single season record for shutouts with six, he also broke the single season record for minutes played by a goalkeeper (1,339) and saves (74). His nine wins as a starter was one shy of Ryan Carr’s club record set in 2005.
Jim Davis and Ryan Heins, both midfielders in college, made the transition to help the Barons shorthanded defense this year. They were the anchors of the backline as the only two players on the team who played in all 16 matches, with Davis playing every minute of every game. Heins, in his fifth season with the club, moved past Ruben Mingo into second place in the club’s all-time list of minutes played with 4,682.
The Ocean City Barons, with the leadership of first-year manager Mike Pellegrino, were able to overcome an up and down season and qualify for the playoffs. By the end of the regular season, 10 players who were on the opening day roster for the Barons, had left the club either due to injury, personal reasons or college commitments. However, Coach Pellegrino was able to take the remaining players, bring in some solid young talent, and produce a successful first season to continue the club’s winning tradition.