Ocean City scores three goals in the final 12 minutes to snap three-game losing streak
Ocean City dominated the Royals despite two second-half ejections, and are back in business in the Mid-Atlantic Division
Sunday, June 22, 2014
Ocean City, NJ – Following a late-game loss to archrival Reading United on Friday, and minutes after Portugal ripped the rug out from under a monumental United States Men’s National Team victory, the hometown Nor’easters took the pitch looking for one thing, a decisive victory. That is exactly what they delivered, mounting a brilliant second-half comeback and scoring two goals with ten men and one with only nine players on the field.
In the first ten minutes of Sunday’s match, Northern Virginia parlayed possession into pressure on the Nor’easters back line but were not able to break through the organized defense, or even muster a shot on target. In the 10th minute, Ocean City’s Hines-Ike brothers Brendan and Ian forced Royals keeper Calle Brown to make two big saves on powerful shots from close range. The play swung from end to end but erratic Northern Virginia shots barely troubled Nor’easter goalie Eric Klenofsky in the first 45 minutes. Man of the match and Ocean City captain Shawn McLaws made his strategic attacks from the right back position look easy all game, and started to threaten the Northern Virginia defense from the 20th minute on. The Royals dictated play for ten minutes in the first half, from the 25th to 35th minutes, winning 50/50 balls and earning a scoring chance in the 35th off the boot of forward Bernardo Majano that forced Klenofsky to make a diving punch-save to preserve his clean sheet. In the waning minutes of the first half, Nor’easters Frannk Tweneboa and Zoncher Dennis combined breathlessly on the left side of the pitch, supported by the Hines-Ike brothers, but failed to find the back of the net. After a wide-open final five minutes, the scoreless first half came to a close.
Just five minutes into the second half, an acrobatic clearance from Ocean City veteran defender Jhamie Hyde warranted what the referee deemed to be a red card after clipping a Royals player, and the Nor’easters were down to ten men. For the next fifteen minutes, the Royals commanded the pace but failed to muster a shot on goal. In the 67th minute, Ocean City was energized by super-subs Glenroy “Junior” Chapman and Emmanuel “Gogo” Kollie, who entered the match for Mitch Lurie and Frank Tweneboa. In the 70th minute, the Nor’easters generated their first shot on goal after going a man down on buildup from Zoncher to Gogo on to Tyler Hilliard who launched a shot inches over the Northern Virginia crossbar. Yet just when it appeared an Ocean City goal was imminent, the referee judged that Nor’easters defender Leon Brown fouled a Northern Virginia player in the box during a Royals corner kick, resulting in a 71st minute penalty shot. Eber Martinez shot left as Klenofsky dove to the shooter’s right and the Royals took a 1-0 lead. From that moment on, the resilience of Ocean City shined, and the Nor’easters began to dominate the match. Ian Hines-Ike made way for defender Matthew Taphorn in the 72nd minute to strengthen the Nor’easters back line and the attack was on. A spinning shot by Ocean City led to a Nor’easters corner kick in the 78th minute. Jason Plumhoff took the corner, delivered a dangerous cross into a box flooded with Orange Nor’easter jerseys, and Leon Brown rose above the fray snapping a header into the back of the net. The game-tying goal rejuvenated the Nor’easters and when Jidell Roach replaced Jason Plumhoff in the 79th minute, Ocean City seemed to redouble their attacking efforts. Despite aggressive, borderline rash challenges from Northern Virginia, Ocean City kept their composure and played organized, attacking-minded soccer. The breakthrough goal came three minutes later after a brilliant individual effort by super-sub Gogo Kollie who sprinted with the ball down the left sideline and delivered a cross that Jidell Roach collected and passed back to a wide open Shawn McLaws, who shot a dart from the ride side of the penalty area into the left side-netting. 2-1 Ocean City.
In the 84th minute, after a gutsy all-around effort, Zoncher Dennis made way for Mitch Grotti. Northern Virginia keeper Calle Brown made an impressive, point-blank save four minutes later on a Jidell Roach breakaway. Javoni Simms entered the fray for goal-scorer Leon Brown in the 89th minute. In stoppage time, the referee handed Gogo a straight red card after a confrontation with a Northern Virginia player. Playing with nine men, Ocean City managed another goal in the 93rd minute on a sweeping cross from Tyler Hilliard that beat the entire Northern Virginia back line, resulting in a breakaway for Brendan Hines-Ike who coolly dribbled past a sprawling keeper and slotted the Nor’easters third goal.
The Nor’easters won the match 3-1 on goals from Leon Brown, Shawn McLaws, and Brendan Hines-Ike. Jason Plumhoff, Jidell Roach, and Tyler Hilliard chipped in with assists. Ocean City scored two goals with a one-man disadvantage after Jhamie Hyde’s ejection and one goal with just nine men, following Gogo’s red card. Jhamie and Gogo will miss the Nor’easters next match, Wednesday evening on the road in Baltimore. Man of the match: Shawn McLaws.