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Nor'easters edge FA Euro, 2-1 to win third straight PDL season opener

Ocean City shifts focus to Wednesday's US Open Cup clash with Charlotte Independence

The Ocean City Nor'easters kicked off the 2018 Premier Development League with a win for the third year in a row on Sunday night. The Nor'easters came from behind to defeat FA Euro New York, 2-1 at the Aviator Sports Complex in Brooklyn, NY.

Ocean City gave up an early goal off a free kick, but it didn't take long for Deri Corfe (Wright State / Chester, England) to equalize. Then, shortly after, a Corfe free kick and a header by Fredlin "Fredinho" Mompremier (Fairleigh Dickinson / Limbe, Haiti) that led to an own goal. That own goal proved to be the game-winner as the Nor'easters defense held a 10-man FA Euro team scoreless in the second half.

This capped off a busy week for the Nor'easters who traveled to Michigan on Wednesday and defeated AFC Ann Arbor of the National Premier Soccer League 3-0 in the First Round of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. After returning to Ocean City, the team had a short turnaround before preparing for Sunday night's league opener with FA Euro.

The whirlwind of early season activity continues as the Nor'easters will now travel down to North Carolina to take on the Charlotte Independence, a professional team in the United Soccer League on Wednesday night. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

"It was a brilliant comeback from the lads tonight, especially playing away from home," said Ocean City head coach John Thompson. "We went behind from a dead ball but once again looked solid in open play. We have to do a better job on possession when in the lead, and to keep pressing the opponent back and put their defense under pressure, but it was a great win for the club to start the season."

The Nor'easters' league season got off to a rocky start when FA Euro was awarded a free kick just outside the box, at the top of the 'D'. Sunnatillo Khusanov opened the scoring with an impressive free kick that avoided the wall and get past Alec Smir (North Carolina / Greensboro, NC) to make it 1-0.

A little more than 10 minutes later, the Nor'easters had an answer. Matteo Bennati (Belmont / Genova, Italy), who had an assist in his Ocean City debut in the US Open Cup, added another one in league play. Bennati raced down the right wing and used his speed to create enough space to send in a cross. The low-driving cross found the feet of Corfe who was wide open on the back post to tie the game at 1-1.

The Nor'easters would take the lead in the 29th minute when the Storm won a free kick. Corfe stepped up to take the free kick and served it into the box where it found the head of Fredlin "Fredinho" Mompremier (Fairleigh Dickinson / Limbe, Haiti). Fortunately for the visitors, Fredinho's header was redirected into the goal by an FA Euro defender.

For Corfe, while not directly responsible for the second goal against FA Euro, the former Manchester City youth academy product has been involved in four of Ocean City's five goals this season (2 assists vs. AFC Ann Arbor).

The Nor'easters went into the halftime break with the 2-1 lead and in the second half the defenses took over, but Ocean City's job got a little easier when FA Euro went down a man. Shortly after halftime, Alejandro DelCura received a second yellow card, bring the home team down to 10. Despite playing shorthanded, the game was still fairly back and forth with neither team creating many chances.

Coach Thompson gives credit to the fresh legs that came in during the second half to help seal the deal: Spencer Patton, Kyle Gurrier, Jacob Labovitz, Abdul Mansary, and James McLaren.

"The lads off the bench were very good," said Thompson about the second half subs who came in to spell some of the starters, who likely were given a shorter night looking ahead to Wednesday's US Open Cup game. "It just reiterates our original analysis of the squad, thinking we would have a lot of depth this season."

Smir, who earned a clean sheet midweek against AFC Ann Arbor, had just a single goal get past him off a set piece, but otherwise played a solid game, making 8 saves for the men in orange.

With the win, Ocean City improves to 7-0-0 all-time against FA Euro in a matchup that dates back to 2013. This also marks the fifth game in a row between these two clubs that was decided by a single goal.

After, Ocean City tangles with the Charlotte Independence on Wednesday, it's back to league play next weekend as the Nor'easters head back to New York for another tough road game. The Storm will face long-time rivals Long Island Rough Riders on Saturday, May 19 at Michael J. Tully Park in New Hyde Park, NY. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

UNSUNG HERO OF THE GAME

Williams N'Dah (Charleston (WV) / Rome, Italy)
After scoring the opening goal playing as a center back in the Nor'easters' US Open Cup win last Wednesday, Coach Thompson challenged N'Dah to a different position against FA Euro. While he didn't get on the scoresheet, N'Dah played a great game at center midfield, doing all the dirty work, especially in the second half to seal the club's first league win of the season.

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