Late goal dooms Nor'easters as Ocean City falls at Reading in seven-goal thriller
Stoppage time winner by Reading leaves Ocean City four points shy of first place with five games to play
The Ocean City Nor'easters suffered a devastating loss to long-time rivals Reading United AC. Nor'easters head coach Tim Oswald labeled the match "a classic heavyweight battle."
In the 41st all-time meeting between the clubs, Reading United came out on top at Don Thomas Stadium with a 4-3 win. It was a thrilling match that featured two goals in stoppage time. The first of the two was a stunning strike from 25 yards out by Ocean City's Chevy Walsh. It was his second goal of the night, both assisted by Nathan Regis, and it looked like the 10-man Nor'easters would head home with an important point on the road.
"Being down to ten men and finding a way to equalize on the road says a ton about our character, heart and passion," Oswald said after the game.
After Walsh received treatment for a cramp, the match was restarted late into stoppage time. Confusion at the back led to Paul Marie scoring on an empty net to take all three points for Reading to keep them at the top of the Mid Atlantic Division with five games left in the season.
Moving forward from such a tough loss is not easy at any level, let alone in the Premier Development League (PDL) with first place on the line. Oswald said it will be tough on both the coaching staff and the players.
"I know many of us won't sleep tonight, but I do believe when we wake up tomorrow, we will be a better team because of today," Oswald said.
After the match, Oswald stressed the fact that the team needs to take responsibility for the loss and learn from it.
"I think as much as it is devastating to not come out of it with a point, it is a scenario that we can't run from because it happened. We just can't turn it off for a small moment after having such a big moment," Oz continued, "We paid the price for that unfortunately, but we can't let it define our season because there are huge fixtures to be played."
The Nor'easters were led by Regis, who assisted on all three goals scored. The former All-PDL player found Walsh twice as well as Mutuya Mwape in the 38th minute. Mwape gathered the ball, and hit an absolutely unstoppable shot into the bottom right corner with his dangerous left foot. The Zambian played brilliantly alongside Regis and Walsh in just his second PDL appearance.
Ocean City dominated the stat sheet with 25 shots compared to Reading's nine. Somehow, they still came out on the losing end, extending the club's winless streak at Reading to eight games (0-6-2). Steffan Kraus had nine saves for the home side and Andrew Garcia made two important saves for Ocean City.
The Nor'easters now sit in third place in the Mid Atlantic Division, four points behind Reading United and two points behind Baltimore, who have played one more game. There is still plenty of time for the team to get back into first and win the division. Their schedule is also favorable because all five remaining games will be played in Ocean City, giving the club an advantage.
"We control our own destiny at this point and just need to win games and earn points in every match we play," said Oswald.
Next up for the Nor'easters, they will have a Fourth of July weekend doubleheader in Ocean City. On Friday, July 1 they begin the weekend against Lehigh Valley United Sonic, who they defeated 2-1 back on June 1. Kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. at the Tennessee Avenue Complex. Then, on Sunday, they will host the New York Red Bulls Under-23s at the same venue. The remaining five home games will all be played on Tennessee Avenue as Carey Stadium is undergoing renovations.
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The Ocean City Nor’easters is a professionally run amateur soccer club with the focus of developing, educating and promoting soccer, health and leadership. Located in Ocean City, New Jersey, “America’s Greatest Family Resort”, the Nor’easters provide quality entertainment to families throughout the Tri-State area and the thousands of visitors every summer.
The Nor’easters organization was established in 1996 and made Carey Stadium, in Ocean City, NJ, its permanent home in 2005. Competing in North America’s top amateur league, the Premier Development League (PDL), the Nor’easters provide the highest level of soccer in Southern New Jersey. The 65-team PDL is the 4th level of soccer in the United States, below the professional leagues; Major League Soccer (MLS), North American Soccer League (NASL) and United Soccer League (USL). As part of the PDL, the Nor’easters’ have the sixth-best overall record since joining the league in 2003 and have upset five professional teams in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, third-most of any amateur team in the country. Ocean City players have the ability to compete during the summer months in a professional environment while maintaining their collegiate eligibility and pursuing their academic goals.