After 4-3 win over Lehigh Valley United on Friday, Ocean City needs a win on Sunday to stay in playoff contention
UPDATE: Ocean City Nor'easters defeated Lehigh Valley United, 4-3, on Friday night at the Beach House.
Last weekend, the Ocean City Nor'easters began the second half of the USL League Two season with a pair of home games at Carey Stadium ("The Beach House") in Ocean City, N.J. They extended their home unbeaten streak to five games with a scoreless draw against the New York Red Bulls Under-23s and a 3-1 win over FA Euro New York.
Now, the Nor'easters have another crucial pair of home games this weekend at the Beach House as the team continues its push for the USL League Two playoffs.
On Friday, the Nor'easters defeated Lehigh Valley United, 4-3 and will go for the weekend sweep tonight (Sunday) at the Beach House in a matchup against expansion side Cedar Stars Rush. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
There will not be a live video stream available. Fans can follow the action through the Nor'easters Twitter account (@OCNoreasters).
Entering Sunday's game, the Storm are 4-3-3 in league play and are just four points out of second place in the Mid-Atlantic Division with five games to play. The top second place team in the Eastern Conference qualifies for the postseason.
In order to keep pace with the second place Long Island Rough Riders (who the Nor'easters will host in the regular season finale on July 14), Ocean City needs to come away from this weekend with the maximum six points. With Friday's win over Lehigh Valley, they are halfway to their goal.
The Nor'easters are led by last year's team MVP Deri Corfe (Wright State / Chester, England) who has picked up where he left off. The Wright State product is leading the team in scoring with eight goals and two assists in nine games and currently is ranked on USL League Two's Top 50 Prospects list. Claudio Repetto (Coastal Carolina / Genova, Italy), who had a goal and an assist in the club's win last Sunday over FA Euro, and a pair of goals in Friday's win over Lehigh Valley, is second on the team with four goals and three assists. Brandon Smalley (Florida Tech / Bridlington, England) is one of five players to play in every league game and he is tied for the team lead in assists with Repetto with three. Jan Hoffelner (St. John's / Frankfurt, Germany), last year's NPSL Goalkeeper of the Year, has started every league game for the Nor'easters in between the sticks.
On Sunday, the Nor'easters will welcome the Cedar Stars Rush to the Beach House for the first time. The expansion team has a 4-3-3 record and are three points behind third place Ocean City. They are entering the weekend after a 3-1 win over Lehigh Valley United with goals from George Akampeke, John Antunes, and Alexander Mieles.
It will be a big challenge for Cedar Stars as they played a home game against FA Euro New York last night before traveling to Ocean City for Sunday's matchup. The CSR won that game, 1-0.
The first-ever meeting between the two clubs took place back on June 5 when the Nor'easters fell to the Cedar Stars 2-1 on the road at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, N.J. Andy Martinez struck first for the Rush in the 56th minute only to see Deri Corfe equalize for Ocean City less than 10 minutes later. Juan Parada scored the game-winner for CSR in the 73rd minute.
Much like Lehigh Valley, Cedar Stars have a rough home stretch ahead of them after this weekend. They have back-to-back road games against the New York Red Bulls Under-23s and Reading United AC before closing the regular season at home on July 12 against the Long Island Rough Riders.
The Cedar Stars Rush, an established power in the youth soccer game, joined USL League Two as an expansion team this year under the ownership of George Altirs, the owner of Capelli Sport and a majority owner of the USL club Penn FC (formerly the Harrisburg City Islanders). They have recently partnered with Rush Soccer and have brought in Anthony Nixon as the club's head coach for its inaugural season.