Hall, Delgado become first Ocean City pair to each score multiple goals since 2009
The Nor'easters posted their first win streak of the season, beating the Sonic 5-1.
|Ocean City Nor'easters Starting XI (L-R): R. Israel, R. Myers, H. Swartz, E. Schoendorf, J. Guinovart, A. Unzue, J. Manga, A. Ridsdale, K. Hall, T. Dobrowolski (GK), M. Lurie (C)|
In an impressive display of offense, the Ocean City Nor’easters dismantled the Lehigh Valley United Sonic, 5-1 on Wednesday night at Whitehall High School Sports Complex in Whitehall, Pennsylvania.
Forwards Khesanio Hall and Pau Delgado Rodriguez each contributed two goals, allowing the Nor’easters to pull away to earn their second consecutive win. The win brings the Nor’easters another three crucial points, vaulting them directly into the division race in the PDL Mid-Atlantic.
“We spent a good deal of practice time working on attacking patterns and combos in the attacking third and we started to put it together against Baltimore but it really came together last night,” Nor’easters Head Coach Tim Oswald said. “Eight goals in two games is a result of the guys becoming familiar with each other and learning to play together.”
Hall and Delgado become the first pair of Ocean City players to each score multiple goals in a single game since May 31, 2009 when Ryan Richter and and Kyle Miller each had a brace in a 7-1 road win over the Newark Ironbound Express (now Jersey Express).
Hall started the scoring a mere three minutes into the game, sending the ball over the Sonic goaltender for an early 1-0 Nor’easters advantage.
However, Lehigh Valley had an answer just one minute later, sending a shot past Nor’easters goaltender Tim Dobrowlski to tie the game at one.
Over the next 18 minutes, the Nor’easters consistently and effectively pressured the Sonic backline, building up opportunities and narrowly missing on chances to score, with midfielder Alex Ridsdale leading the mounting attack.
Ridsdale banged a shot off the crossbar in the 20th minute as the Nor’easters got closer and closer to retaking the lead in the first half.
Finally, in the 22nd minute, Ridsdale connected, effortlessly cutting through the middle in the same manner as he had before hitting the crossbar. This time however, Ridsdale found his mark, hitting twine and putting the Nor’easters up 2-1 in the early going.
Off the ensuing restart it was Hall who again began to pester the Sonic backline, sending a shot just over the crossbar in the 23rd minute.
In the 27th minute, Hall headed home one of Ocean City’s seven corner kicks to extend the Ocean City lead to 3-1.
Hall had begun to find his stride during the Nor’easters match against the Baltimore Bohemians, playing 73 minutes and attempting three shots. He failed to score in the match, but it was evident that he was becoming comfortable playing the toughest PDL Division in the country.
Both teams mustered chances to close out the half without luck and Ocean City hit the locker room with a 3-1 lead. They had every reason to be comfortable, holding a two goal lead over an inexperienced and struggling team, three points easily within reach.
In a league where nothing can be taken for granted and every team is capable of beating anyone on any given night, the Nor’easters weren’t complacent leaving the locker room for the second half of play.
It showed early in the second half, as forward Harry Schwartz sent an arching cross into the box that was unable to find a home, followed by an Ocean City corner kick that was headed just over top of the Sonic’s net.
The two goaltenders traded tough saves as the second half wore on. Dobrowlski, making his second consecutive start over teammate Eric Klenofsky, made five saves and handled all of Lehigh Valley’s six corner kicks, earning himself his second win of the season. The 2014 Missouri Valley Conference Goalkeeper of the Year is now 2-0 with the Nor’easters in his first season in the PDL.
“Dobrowlski has proven that he win games at the PDL level,” Oswald said. “He is an accomplished player in college. We were very happy when he committed and he’s done a great job of getting results, communicating and being a leader.”
In the 76th minute, Delgado Rodriguez deposited his first goal of the game on a beautiful cross from forward Matthew Vasquenza to give the Nor’easters a 4-1 lead and effectively end any chance that Lehigh Valley had of a comeback.
Eight minutes later, Delgado Rodriguez added another, taking a pass from forward Mitch Grotti and sending past the keeper for a 5-1 advantage.
With the win the Nor’easters now sit in fifth place in the PDL Mid-Atlantic Division with nine points on the season. They trail Reading United AC by just one point for second place in the division, and trail New York Red Bulls U-23 by just three points for first place in the Division.
The Nor’easters have played one game less than the Red Bulls and the Long Island Rough Riders, two of the four teams above them, and will have an opportunity to host every team above them in the standings.
“Any time you have seven away games you have to be in a position for playoffs when you return home,” Oswald said. “At 3-2 we just need to keep plugging and get every result. Every result is critical so many good teams in this league.”
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