The storm headed north again as the Ocean City Nor’easters headed to Westchester, NY to take on the Westchester Flames. However, the storm of great soccer was replaced by a mini-Nor’easter that saw 4 players sent off, including 2 from OC, Jonny Dolezal and Junior Chapman as well as assistant coach Kevin Nuss.
The boys from Ocean City, NJ looked to get another 3 points to extend their 3 game winning streak. The Flames found themselves at the foot of the Mid-Atlantic Division table before the game as the Nor’easters looked to win to go top. However, the Flames should not have been taken lightly as they have picked up points against league leaders Jersey Express and beat Bermuda Hogges 5-1.
The game began with Ocean City dominating possession and they were able to turn that into goals as Nor’easters scored thanks to Emmanuel Kollie aka Go Go after a great pass from top scorer Zoncher Dennis. The second was scored by Markhus “Duke” Lacroix as Go Go set him up.
It was 2-0 at half time and the signs looked good for a Nor’easters victory but the second half didn’t start as the away team hoped. Ocean City conceded a penalty which was duly converted by Flames golden boot Keegan.
The game then turned sour as Ocean City assistant coach Kevin Nuss was sent from the bench in the 52nd minute. Six minutes later, he was joined by Ocean City's Glenroy Chapman and Westchester's Richard Heredia, reducing both sides to 10 men. The Flames were then reduced to nine men in the 69th minute as Michael DeFonte received his second yellow card, but the Nor'easters also saw Jonathan Dolezal sent off with 12 minutes to go to even the sides up again. Despite all of that, the Nor'easters were able to hold on and take victory, moving them to 8-2-0 for the season as they continue their strong push for the playoffs.
Coach Oswald reflected on the game, “As far as the match... It was definitely an eventful game in NY on Saturday night. We went up 2-0 comfortably before the half time whistle and we felt as though the game was in hand for us after goals tremendous individual efforts by Emmanuel Kollie and Duke Lacroix. As we came out of halftime, we had a few opportunities to stretch the lead to 3-0, but a debated PK goal on a Nick Bibbs tackle broke the game into a 2-1 contest. The energy and emotion got the best of both teams has a total of 5 red cards were given out by the center official. That absolutely changed the game 100% and we didn’t quite handle that well. I wouldn’t say our 2nd half was one of our shining moments of the season, but it was enough to earn 3 road points and for us to close out the match. Tyler Miller, a freshman at Northwestern this past fall, picked up his 1st PDL win in his debut as GK for the Nor’easters.”
“As far as the playoff push...We came away with our 8th victory in 10 games and I am proud of our players and organization right now. Of the 73 teams in PDL right now, only 5 teams have 8 or more wins (4 with 8 and 1 with 9) so we are happy with our stance nationally, within the conference, and in the division, but we were still unable to jump into the top spot in the division. Jersey Express continues there winning ways having played an additional game as well then us. There is definitely a level of energy in the locker room right now with our players, but they know that the next 6 games will determine so much for us in terms of how the year plays out for us. It’s nice to hold the cards and not rely on anyone else in such an amazing league, but a loss or a tie here or there can change things instantly and we have to make sure that we put forth 6 straight complete 90 min efforts...with the next one coming Wednesday night in Long Island.”
The Nor’easters next travel back to the Empire State to take on Long Island Rough Riders who have been in great form lately. The next home game is on Sunday July 1st as we welcome the Bermuda Hogges to Carey Stadium, 7pm kick off.