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Preview: Nor'easters, Reading United renew rivalry Saturday night

Fans unable to travel can watch the 46th meeting live online as Ocean City looks to close in on first place

One of the oldest rivalries in the Premier Development League (PDL) will add another chapter on Saturday night when the Ocean City Nor'easters visit Reading United AC. The game will take place at Gurski Stadium in West Lawn, Pa. with kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m.

For fans that are able to make the trip, you can help support a great cause. Saturday night's game is Reading United's Kicks Against Cancer Night. They will be raising money to support cancer research and awareness.

You can watch the game live here:

While the rivalry, which dates back to 1997, will get the attention, this is an opportunity for Ocean City to cut into Reading's lead atop the Mid-Atlantic Division. Entering Saturday's contest, Reading is the division's only undefeated team (6-0-1, 19 points) and the Nor'easters are tied for third place with a 4-2-0 record (12 points). The Storm are seven points behind United, but they also have played one fewer game. A win could really change the race for the division title as Ocean City reached the midpoint of the 2018 PDL season.

The Nor'easters enter the weekend riding a three-game winning streak. After back-to-back shutouts over second-place Long Island (2-0) and Evergreen FC (1-0), Ocean City defeated Lehigh Valley United 4-1 on Thursday. Abdul Mansaray (Wilmington / London, England) led the way with two goals and an assist while Simone Raioli (Grand View / Triuggo, Italy) added a goal and an assist. Todd Morton (Delaware / West Chester, PA) made five saves to pick up his second straight win.

Reading United AC are the Nor'easters' oldest rivals. Reading joined the D-3 Pro League in 1996, the year before Ocean City launched. Since then, they have played 45 times both as professional and PDL teams. Ocean City leads the all-time series 20-18-7, but Reading has had the better run in recent years. 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 prevailed, winning 4-1 on the road. It snapped a six-game winless streak against United and it was their first win at Reading in 10 years. 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.

Once again, Reading and Ocean City will meet three times. Saturday marks the first of those three meetings. The remaining two will be played at the Beach House this Wednesday, June 20 and again on Saturday, July 7.    

Reading United has been a totally different team since they became a minor league affiliate of the Philadelphia Union before the 2010 season. They have won two division titles and have finished qualified for the PDL playoffs seven of the last eight years.

The Nor'easters and Reading United are very similar (which likely contributes to the rivalry). Both teams have reached the PDL Semifinals twice but have fallen short in their goal of reaching the league championship game. Also, both teams have had dozens of former players move on to play professionally.

The Reading offense runs through Aaron Molloy. The Penn State Nittany Lion is currently ranked No. 2 on the PDL's Top Prospect list. He leads the team with three goals and three assists. Other top prospects on the list include a pair of defenders, Daniel Krutzen (Albany, No. 7) and Kamal Miller (Syracuse, No. 21) and midfielder Lamine Conte (Louisville, No. 44). 

Ocean City has three players ranked in the Top 40: Alec Smir (North Carolina, No. 17), Alex Rose (North Carolina, No. 39), and Fredinho Mompremier (Fairleigh Dickinson, No. 41)

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