Ocean City's playoff hopes on the line as they face Reading for the 48th time
There are just three games (and one friendly) remaining for the Ocean City Nor'easters in the 2018 Premier Development League regular season. If Ocean City wants to have a chance at qualifying for the PDL playoffs, they will have to win all three. Luckily for the Storm, all three of those games are being played at home, and the biggest challenge of their remaining games arrives in Ocean City on Saturday as the Nor'easters will host long-time rivals Reading United AC.
Saturday's game is Youth Soccer Night at the Beach House. All kids wearing the jersey of the club soccer team that they play for will receive free admission to the game. All other 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.
Ocean City and Reading United are one of the longest-running rivalries in the PDL, dating back to 1997. Saturday's game will be the 48th meeting between the two clubs and the series is currently tied 20-20-7. When the two teams met in 1997, the two teams (known as the Reading Rage and the South Jersey Barons) were both professional teams in the D-3 Pro League. Reading had joined the league the year before. Ocean City had the edge in the series during the first decade of the rivalry (17-6-3), but the second decade has largely belonged to Reading (14-3-4).
After Reading swept both regular season meetings in 2016, the two met in the Eastern Conference championship game. It was the first time the two long-time rivals had met in a playoff game and it was Ocean City that pervailed, winning 4-1 on the road. Last year, the two teams played each other three times, with Reading winning both games on their home field and Ocean City edging United 1-0 at the Beach House on July 2.
Reading United will arrive at the Beach House undefeated in league play (10-0-2) and sitting in first place in the Mid-Atlantic Division. They will have motivation of their own as they need a win to clinch their second division title in the last three years.
This is the third year in a row that the two rivals have faced off three times in one season. In 2016 and 2017, two games were hosted by Reading and one game was hosted by Ocean City. This year, the Nor'easters will host two of the three meetings. Saturday will mark the final time the two teams will meet in the regular season with Reading winning the first two games. United won 3-1 on their home field back on June 16 and then picked up a 2-0 win in Ocean City four days later.
Reading is on the verge of clinching another division title, but they hit a stumbling block with a scoreless draw against the New York Red Bulls Under-23s midweek.
The player to watch for United continues to be their star midfielder Aaron Molloy. The Penn State product is one of four Reading players listed on the PDL's Top Prospects list. Molloy is currently ranked No. 1. The Nor'easters have a pair of players ranked on the Top Prospects list: Alec Smir (North Carolina / Greensboro, NC) and current PDL Eastern Conference Team of the Week member Alex Rose (North Carolina / Cary, NC). Another former Ocean City player, Nikola Fimic, is currently ranked No. 11.
Rose leads the Nor'easters in scoring with six goals due, in large part, to his hat trick in Ocean City's last game on June 30 against FA Euro. The Nor'easters won 5-0 at the Beach House with Fredlin "Fredinho" Mompremier (Fairleigh Dickinson / Limbe, Haiti) scoring his first league goal of the season (third in all competitions) and adding two assists. That goal was so impressive that Mompremier was voted as the PDL Goal of the Week. Fredinho, last year's Offensive Player of the Year, has had a relatively smooth transition to outside defender as he enters Saturday's game leading the team in assists with five.
Todd Morton (Delaware / West Chester, PA) earned his third clean sheet of the season against FA Euro. The Delaware goalkeeper now has seven shutouts in his Ocean City career, which ranks second in the team's PDL history.
Most recently, the Nor'easters played a warm-up exhibition game last Monday against National Premier Soccer League side West Chester United. Ocean City defeated the Philadelphia area side 1-0 thanks to an 85th minute goal by Abdul Mansaray (Wilmington / London, England) and an exceptional performance in goal by a pair of Ocean City goalkeepers Jimmy Slayton (Hartford / Wethersfield, CT) and Gus Valeriano (California-Pa. / Southampton, NJ).
WILD CARD STANDINGS
Top second place team earns playoff berth
UPDATED through July 6
|New York Red Bulls U-23s||3||8-2-1||25||+23|
|North Carolina FC U-23s||1||6-3-4||22||+6|
|Long Island Rough Riders||3||7-3-1||22||+9|
|OCEAN CITY NOR'EASTERS||3||7-4-0||21||+7|
|GPS Portland Phoenix||3||6-3-2||20||+3|
New York Red Bulls U-23s
7/8 - vs. Evergreen FC (0-9-2)
7/13 - at Long Island Rough Riders (7-3-1)
7/15 - at Ocean City Nor'easters (7-4-0)
Long Island Rough Riders
7/7 - vs. Evergreen FC (0-9-2)
7/11 - at FA Euro New York (2-9-0)
7/13 - vs. New York Red Bulls U-23s (8-2-1)
Ocean City Nor'easters
7/7 - vs. Reading United AC (9-0-2)
7/11 - vs. Lehigh Valley United (1-9-1)
7/15 - vs. New York Red Bulls U-23s (8-2-1)
North Carolina FC U-23s
7/14 - at Charlotte Eagles (3-5-3)
GPS Portland Phoenix
7/7 - at Westchester Flames (1-5-6)
7/8 - at AC Connecticut (4-5-2)
7/15 - vs. Western Mass Pioneers (3-4-4)
7/7 - vs. Black Rock FC (8-2-3)
7/11 - at Seacoast United Phantoms (2-6-3)
7/14 - vs. Westchester Flames (1-5-6)