Barons' playoff run ends, 3-0 to Chicago Fire

Ocean City's greatest season ever comes to a close in Iowa

PDL QUARTERFINALS

Ocean City 0:3 Chicago

Valley Stadium - Des Moines, IA
Media Coverage:
Press of Atlantic City

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The Ocean City Barons fell behind early and were unable to recover, losing 3-0 to the Chicago Fire on Friday night in the PDL Quarterfinals. The loss puts an end to the greatest season in franchise history, which included a run to the Third Round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and two upset wins in the PDL Playoffs.

Mark Blades, Freddie Braun and Chris Gutshaw were the goalscorers for Chicago, who move on to the League Semifinals on Saturday where they will face the underdog Cary Clarets, who upset the host Des Moines Menace 1-0. For Chicago, this is only their second appearance in the Final Four, and their first since 2001 when they lost in the championship game.

Barons Lineup School / Hometown
GK - Tunde Ogunbiyi Boston College / Gwynedd, PA
DEF - Jamal Neptune Hofstra / East Windsor, NJ
DEF - John Fletcher Eckherd College (’09) / Uxbridge, ENG
DEF - Joe Banks Drexel (’07) / Sicklerville, NJ
DEF - Tyler Bellamy St. Bonaventure / Hammonton, NJ
MID - Ryan Richter LaSalle / Southampton, PA
MID - Leon Brown Wheeling Jesuit (’04) / Siparia, Trinidad
MID - Rory McCrea Hofstra / Leeds, England
MID - William Swetra James Madison / Egg Harbor, NJ
FWD - JT Noone Temple / Harrisburg, PA
FWD - Byron Carmichael Marshall (’03) / Lumberton, NJ
Substitutes  
Dwayne Dove Vermont / Turnersville, NJ
Steve Miller Colgate / Ivyland, PA
Junior Chapman LaSalle / Winslow, NJ
Billy Pinto Hofstra / Audubon, NJ
Neal Melchionni Lehigh / Marmora, NJ
Kyle Miller Holy Cross / Woodbury, NJ
Scoring Summary
18th (CHICAGO) Mark Blades
66th (CHICAGO) Freddie Braun (Andy Adlar)
76th (CHICAGO) Chris Cutshaw

 Game Stats

OCEAN CITY

CHICAGO

Shots

6

9

Saves

2

2

Fouls

13

9

Offsides

2

3

Corners

3

2

PDL QUARTERFINALS

Ocean City 0:3 Chicago

Valley Stadium - Des Moines, IA
Media Coverage:
Press of Atlantic City

Cary 1:0 Des Moines
FINAL - Des Moines, IA
Ventura County 2:1 Kitsap
FINAL  - Laredo, TX
Bradenton 3:1 Laredo
FINAL (OT) - Laredo, TX

Follow the Barons:
 
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The Ocean City Barons fell behind early and were unable to recover, losing 3-0 to the Chicago Fire on Friday night in the PDL Quarterfinals. The loss puts an end to the greatest season in franchise history, which included a run to the Third Round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and two upset wins in the PDL Playoffs.

Mark Blades, Freddie Braun and Chris Gutshaw were the goalscorers for Chicago, who move on to the League Semifinals on Saturday where they will face the underdog Cary Clarets, who upset the host Des Moines Menace 1-0. For Chicago, this is only their second appearance in the Final Four, and their first since 2001 when they lost in the championship game.

The Barons fall one win short of their first-ever trip to the Semifinals.

"We didn’t bring out A-game tonight," said head coach Neil Holloway. "Our preparation was good, our practice the night before was good, we just came out flat tonight."

The opening 15 minutes of the game was an even contest with neither team threatening the other’s goal. The Fire managed to take advantage of their first real chance of the game in the 18th minute.

A Chicago player managed to win the ball on the right wing, and dribbled into the penalty area. He took a shot but the Barons’ All-Conference goalkeeper Tunde Ogunbiyi made one of his two saves in the game, but the rebound came off the post and Marc Blades was in the right place at the right time to score the opening goal.

"They scored on their first real attack," said Holloway. "It shocked us a little bit, but we just kept on pushing."

About 10 minutes before the halftime break, Ocean City managed to create a chance for themselves beginning with J.T. Noone dribbling down the left wing. Noone centered the ball in for Ryan Richter, but his shot was saved by Fire goalie James Maurer.

After the halftime break, the Barons added to the attack by bringing on Neal Melchionni and Kyle Miller off the bench. Miller was making his first appearance since suffering an injury on July 4 in a 1-1 draw with the Ottawa Fury.

Holloway was pleased with how the Men In Red came out in the second half.

"We started on the right foot by playing some dangerous balls into the area and keeping some good possession, but again, we failed to create any solid opportunities."

In the 66th minute, the Fire dealt the Barons a major blow off a free kick. Andy Adlar sent the ball into the box and connected with Freddie Braun to put Chicago up 2-0.

With the Barons throwing everything forward, Chicago added a third just 10 minutes later. On a counter attack, Chris Cutshaw, who had come in as a second half sub, fired a ball low and hard from 22 yards out which got past a diving Ogunbiyi to put the game away.

With the game out of reach, there were very few highlights in the remaining 15 minutes. The only real action was Ocean City midfielder Junior Chapman being shown a red card after a collision with a Fire player in the 87th minute.

"We picked a bad time to play our worst game of the year," said Holloway afterwards.

"This has been the best and most exciting season the club has ever had," said Holloway. "Obviously, it’s hard to go down like this, but after a couple weeks, I think everyone will look back on this and realize how great a summer this really was.

"Hopefully the players will learn from this defeat and come back even hungrier next summer."

PDL FINAL FOUR SET

In the second game of the doubleheader, the host Des Moines Menace were upset by the Cary Clarets, 1-0. In the other Quarterfinal games, there were more surprises when the Ventura County Fusion, who finished in third place in their division, knocked off the Kitsap Pumas, 2-1. Kitsap was the last remaining professional PDL team in the tournament. In the last game of the evening, another host fell, as the Laredo Heat were knocked out by the Bradenton Academics 3-1 after extra time.

The Final Four is one that not many would have predicted, featuring two third place teams (Cary & Ventura County) and two second place teams (Chicago & Bradenton). The winners of tomorrow’s Semifinal matches will advance to the PDL Final, which will take place next Saturday, August 8 and will be broadcast on Fox Soccer Channel.  

Field