Nor'easters begin holiday weekend homestand with 3-1 win over Lehigh Valley United
Ocean City hosts Red Bulls Under-23s tonight at 5 p.m. at Tennessee Ave. Complex
The Ocean City Nor’easters got back on track and back in the Mid Atlantic Division title race with a 3-1 win over Lehigh Valley United Sonic.
The Nor’easters were looking to bounce back after a heartbreaking loss against Reading United AC last Saturday, and found themselves hosting Lehigh Valley United at the Tennessee Avenue Complex in Ocean City in the first of the final five home PDL games.
The Nor’easters took all three points tonight as they defeated the Sonic 3-1 and move into second place in the Mid Atlantic Division as well as into a playoff spot with only four games remaining. They are now just one point behind division leaders Reading. Ocean City made the jump over the Baltimore Bohemians in the standings who have 17 points. Baltimore makes the trip to Ocean City twice in the final four matches. With this win the Nor’easters find themselves in a fierce battle at the top.
Tonight’s game was entertaining both on and off the ball as the Nor’easters battled the wind to seal a win over Lehigh. The visitors provided a dominating performance in the early stages of the first half, holding possession in their own zone as well as moving the ball in the midfield with precision.
Nor’easters goalkeeper Mike Kirk (LaSalle / Mechanicsburg, PA) would provide a number of fantastic and acrobatic saves in his PDL debut. The highlight of the match was a saved penalty awarded late in the 2nd half.
The Nor’easters would find their way around the Lehigh defensive trap and earn a series of set pieces from the corner, this would ultimately lead to a cross by Dakota Peterson (Drexel / Denver, CO) that would be headed in by Daniel Nimmo (Campbellsville / Lithgow, Scotland) to open the scoring in the 40th minute of play, a lead they would take into halftime, after a hard-fought 45 minutes.
The Nor’easters would put eight shots on goal in the first half, using the speed and precision of the midfield and would continue on with the offensive play in the second half. The defensive aspect of the game would weigh heavy as United would look to regain themselves late in the half.
The Nor’easters would find the net again in the 64th minute, as PDL Team of the Week selection, Chevaughn “Chevy” Walsh (Jefferson / Spanish Town, Jamaica) would add another to his tally on the season. Walsh now has 10 goals in league play this season with the Nor’easters, nearing the club record of 12 goals in a season (Ruben Mingo, 2004) and adding to his recent game tally scoring six times in three games. After the game, the Jamaican moved into a tie for second place in the PDL in goals, three behind league leader Christian Chaney of the Fresno Fuego with 13.
The Nor’easters would cease to relent as Lehigh gave them more and more opportunities late in the game. Peterson would find the back of the net in the 80th minute from outside the box as Nathan Regis (Pfeiffer / Trinidad & Tobago) would blur the Lehigh goalkeeper with a strong presence in front of goal.
A late goal in the 84th minute from Lehigh Valley's Leon Maric would ruin the clean sheet for Ocean City and give United a renewed sense of urgency as the clock trickled down, Lehigh would get one last chance in the 90th minute after a penalty kick was awarded but Kirk saved the shot to deny the visitors a second goal.
After a fantastic performance all around, the mood was high for the Nor’easters who will look to Sunday night’s game as a must-win to fuel the playoff push in the division.
“I think every game from here on out is a playoff game," said Nor'easters head coach Tim Oswald. "We have to play one game at a time, one half, one minute at a time and manage our matches and try and find results.”
The Nor’easters’ next match is on Sunday, July 3 against the New York Red Bulls Under-23s at 5 p.m. The Red Bulls are looking to make a late playoff push as they are four points out of first place and just three points out of second. The match will take place at the Tennessee Avenue Soccer Complex.
UPDATE: Reading United defeated Baltimore on Saturday night, so here are the PDL standings heading into Sunday night's game:
||3 (vs EFC, at JER, vs LVU)
|OCEAN CITY NOR'EASTERS
||4 (vs NYRB, vs BAL, vs JER, vs BAL)
||3 (at OCN, vs LVU, at OCN)
||4 (vs NYRB, at OCN, vs REA, vs EFC)
|NEW YORK RED BULLS U23s
||4 (at OCN, at JER, vs LVU, vs EFC)
|Lehigh Valley United Sonic
||3 (at NYRB, at BAL, at REA)
||3 (at REA, vs EFC, at JER)
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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.