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Preview: Nor'easters host Lehigh Valley tonight with eyes on 2019 US Open Cup qualification

With PDL playoffs out of reach, Ocean City needs a win on Wednesday to stay on pace to qualify for next year's US Open Cup

The Ocean City Nor'easters had their Premier Development League (PDL) playoff hopes dashed on Sunday when the New York Red Bulls Under-23s mathematically eliminated them from contention with a win over Evergreen FC. However, there there is still a lot to play for in the final two home games for the Nor'easters. Winning both games will put them in prime position to qualify for the 2019 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.

The first of those two remaining home games will take place at the Beach House on Wednesday night when the Nor'easters host Lehigh Valley United. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. where 13-year-old Olivia Currier will sing the national anthem (READ MORE ABOUT OLIVIA HERE)

Entering Wednesday's game, the Nor'easters are sitting at No. 19 in the overall PDL table. While the format for the 2019 US Open Cup has not been announced yet, the last five years, a minimum of 19 teams have qualified. In 2017, the top 21 got in, and for 2018, the top 20 PDL teams were entered into the 105-year-old tournament.

Tickets are available at the Carey Stadium box office for $10. Click here for more information about group ticket packages, birthday parties and how soccer coaches can get in free.

There will be no live stream available for the game. Fans unable to make it out to the Beach House can follow the action as it happens on the Nor'easters' official twitter account @OCNoreasters.

This will be the third and final meeting between the Nor'easters and Lehigh Valley with Ocean City winning the first two games on the road. They will go for the season sweep against United at the Beach House, a place that they have never lost (3-0-0) to Lehigh Valley before. In fact, the all-time series against United has been heavily in favor of the Nor'easters as they lead 7-1-0.

On June 14 in Allentown, Pa., Abdul Mansaray (Wilmington / London, England) earned a spot on the All-Eastern Conference Team of the Week by scoring two goals and assisting on another in a 4-1 win by the Nor'easters. Simone Raiola (Grand View / Triuggo, Italy) added a goal and an assist and Deri Corfe (Wright State / Chester, England) added another. Todd Morton (Delaware / West Chester, PA) made five saves to earn his second win in as many starts.

A little less than two weeks later (June 27), the Nor'easters returned to Allentown and it was a much tighter game but still a win for Ocean City. Corfe was the star in the 2-1 win as he created both goals. The former Manchester City academy player assisted on an Alex Rose (North Carolina / Cary, NC) goal in the first half and then scored what would prove to be the game-winner four minutes later to lead the Storm.

Last Saturday, Ocean City had their three-game win streak snapped and their playoff hopes dashed at the hands of their long-time rival Reading United by the score of 4-2. In the 48th meeting between the two teams, Corfe, Ocean City's leading scorer in all competitions (5 goals, 5 assists) and Fredlin "Fredinho" Mompremier (Fairleigh Dickinson / Limbe, Haiti) each scored and Ocean City rattled two shots off the Reading goalpost in the losing effort.

Wednesday's game in Ocean City marks the second of three straight tough road games to close out what has been a difficult season for Lehigh Valley. Last Saturday, the club's winless streak reached nine games with a 2-0 loss to FA Euro New York.

Following Wednesday's game, the Nor'easters wrap up a busy week with two games this weekend to close out the 2018 season. On Friday, July 13, they host the D.C. United Under-23s in an exhibition game at the Beach House, with a new kickoff time of 6 p.m.

Then, on Sunday, they welcome the New York Red Bulls Under-23s for the PDL regular season finale in Ocean City. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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