1-0 loss sends Nor'easters home
The runaway train that was the Ocean City Nor’easters during the 2012 USL PDL season was derailed by Ottawa Fury on Saturday night in the Eastern Conference Semi-Final played in Greensboro, NC.
The Nor’easters went into the game as the number 1 seed having the best record in the whole of the East at 13-3-0. Fury coach Stephen O’Kane had a real reason to want to get back at the Ocean City franchise, back in 2009 after completing an undefeated regular season (12-0-4) the Fury fell 2-1 in extra time to the Ocean City Barons (now Nor’easters). Ottawa started quickly, too quick for Ocean City and Eddie Campbell scored from an Anthony DiBiase corner. Campbell struck on target and with the help of a deflection in front of goal sent the Fury ahead in the 6th minute. Playing on a large field at Macpherson Stadium, the Fury used the space and their speed to create chances early. Marcello Castro would see his free kick go close in the 20th minute which followed by an Ocean City opportunity, but neither side would able to find the back of the net. In the 35th minute tensions grew hot and two Ocean City players were book as frustration was visible on the Conference-leading Nor’easters who put together at 13-3-0 regular season, the third best record in the PDL. After 45 minutes Ottawa would carry their 1-0 lead into the dressing room.
Ocean City started the second half with tremendous pressure as captain Terry Gibbs went close on a free kick before Nils Carson was called upon to keep the clean sheet in tact with a tremendous save in the opening ten minutes of the second period. Ocean City’s storm of attacking continued to gather strength pinning the Fury inside their own half for a large period of time, but were unable to find a quality finish. At the 74 minute mark Alex Rodriguez was sprung free on a breakaway, but was unable to provide Ottawa with the insurance goal they so desperately needed. There would be four minutes of added time that saw Ottawa battle past wave after wave of Nor’easters attack. The final whistle would avenge a four-year grudge for Fury coach Stephen O’Kane as his side hit back against their former division-rivals with a 1-0 victory sending them to the PDL Eastern Conference Championship on Sunday at 6p.m. where they faced the winner of the second Conference semifinal, hosts Carolina Dynamo. However, Dynamo went on to beat Ottawa and will be the Eastern Conference’s representative at the National Finals.
Coach Oswald took time out to chat to us about how it all unfolded, "We let up an early goal off a deflection and had to chase the game from the 6th minute of the game on. We had some incredible chances to tie the game and didn’t get it done. Cahoots to Ottawa for finding a way to close the game out. It’s extremely unfortunate but the game of soccer can be unforgiving."
He then reflected on the 2012 season as a whole and started looking forward to 2013, "I am proud of what we accomplished this year, but I am hopeful this sets the standard for next year and makes our guys hungry for more. Regardless of bowing out early or not, nobody can take away the 13 win season, the Mid-Atlantic Division title, and Eastern Conference regular season championship. We have a tough act to follow next year but I am sure we are all up for the challenge and I am looking forward to building the 2013 squad as we prepare for the US Open Cup."
The Ocean City Nor’easters players and staff would like to thank the supporters for a great 2012 season. Without you this ride would not be as fun.