Barons clinch playoffs with 3-1 win

Carey Stadium hosts conference playoffs July 27-28

The Ocean City Barons (8-1-4) are headed back to the playoffs for the third time in four years after a 3-1 win over the Delaware Dynasty (3-10-2) on Wednesday night. Ocean City High School graduate Kyle Evans, scored two goals and assisted on Pat McCaffery’s tally in the 84th minute to clich second place in the Mid-Atlantic Division.

The club also announced after the game that Carey Stadium has been chosen as the site for the 2007 Eastern Conference playoffs. The semifinals will be held on Friday, July 27, with the final taking place the following night on July 28. The Mid-Atlantic Division champion Hampton Roads Piranhas will take on the second place team from the Northeast Division at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, while the Barons will play the Northeast Division champion at 7:30 p.m. The conference final will take place on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m.

The Men In Red took only eight minutes to get on the scoresheet when Byron Carmichael won the ball on the left wing and found a wide open Evans at the top of the 18-yard box. Evans touched the ball forward and fired a shot past a diving Brian Lloyd for his second goal of the season.

In the 23rd minute, Neil Holloway nearly made it two when he joined the attack on one of six first half corner kicks for the home side. When the cross came in, he headed the ball, in traffic, into the outside side netting.

Four minutes later, Delaware nearly equalized. Joel Senior dribbled through traffic and laid the ball off to Averil Ringheim on the left who fired a shot off the bar and out for a goal kick.

Ryan Heins took matters into his own hands in the 31st minute, with a knifing run through the middle of the Dynasty midfield. Once he approached the backline, Lloyd was the last line of defense and made a tremendous save after cutting down the angle to his right.

The game took a sharp turn in the 35th minute when Michael Okoh took down Brad Franks with his studs up. Franks survived the tackle, but Okoh was shown a red card and left for an early shower, leaving Delaware a man short.

The first half chances belonged to the home side, but Lloyd’s excellent goalkeeping kept the game at 1-0 heading into the halftime break. That scoreline would have changed in the 42nd minute, but Lloyd made his two biggest saves of the night. Carmichael led a Barons attack up the right wing and fired a shot that was blocked by the Rowan University goalkeeper. However, the rebound trickled down to the near wing where Jeremy Ortiz pounced on it and sent a one-time shot on goal. Lloyd recovered from the initial save, and put a stop to the rebound shot as well.

After halftime, the Barons kept the pressure on with Rob Youhill on the right wing. Youhill battled with the Dynasty backline near the corner flag, but earned enough space to get off a cross which found the head of Evans, who was wide open in the middle of the box. Evans nodded the cross into the back of the net to make the game 2-0.

Much like last weekend’s game against Fredericksburg, the visitors hung around and finally capitalized on an opportunity. After a handball was called against the Barons in the 67th minute, Guilherme Fonseca bent a free kick around the five-man wall and into the net to cut the lead in half.

Three minutes later, Ocean City pushed for a third, with Franks on the left wing sending a line drive cross to the near post where Carmichael volleyed the ball just over the bar.

While Evans may get the headlines for his pair of goals, it was Medford’s Drew Von Bargen who saved the day for the home side. In the 77th minute, the Dynasty earned a corner kick which was struck into the heart of the penalty area. Someone in the crowd of black jerseys headed the ball down toward a wide open left side of the goal, but Von Bargen, making only his fifth appearance of the season, cleared the ball off the line to prevent the equalizer.

Evans would help put the game away in the 84th by sending a low driving corner kick from the left wing that Pat McCaffrey redirected into the goal to return the Barons to a two-goal advantage.

Any hope Delaware had to get back in the game was thrown away when defender Carlington Harvey was sent off in the 87th minute for an excessive foul on Carmichael. Adam Edwards made six saves to earn his seventh win of the season

Ocean City still has two regular season games to play. After the previous two attempts to play the game were postponed due to bad weather, the Barons will attempt to play their road finale against the Reading Rage on Friday, July 20 at 7:30 p.m. Then, the club returns home on Sunday, July 22 for the regular season finale against the Hampton Roads Piranhas. The battle between the number one and number two teams in the division will kick off at 7:30 p.m. For more information about the Ocean City Barons, visit the club’s official website at www.ocbarons.com.

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