Ocean City seeks third straight league win vs. slumping United
The Ocean City Nor’easters head into a crucial road match with first place on the line against long-time rival Reading United AC. While Reading has dominated the last few years, the Nor'easters will look to improve on their all-time series record of 18-15-7 dating back to the late 1990s.
This rivalry is one of the longest-running in not just the Premier Development League but also the entire United Soccer Leagues. The two teams will meet for the 41st time on Saturday night.
Moving into the second half of the season, the race for first place in the Mid Atlantic Division is heating up. Reading had the chance to go four points clear at the top of the table despite a narrow midweek loss to last place Lehigh Valley United Sonic this week. They suffered the shock loss which keeps the gap at one point. It was Lochlan McLean who scored in the 25th minute to get all three points. After a strong start to the 2016 season, Reading has now lost two of their last three games. This is the perfect time for the rising Nor’easters to take first place.
While Reading are on a downward slope, the Nor’easters are climbing up the table. They have moved from fifth to second place with two wins in a row, both coming against the Evergreen Hammers. In the first of those matches, Evergreen made the trip to The Beach House where the Nor’easters dominated possession and won 3-1. Three days later, the Nor’easters went on the road and got a convincing 6-1 win thanks to a Chevy Walsh hat-trick. This win clinched the season sweep over Evergreen with a combined score of 12-2.
The first time Reading and Ocean City met this year it was United coming to Ocean City and picking up a 2-0 win on June 4.
Away trips to Reading have not been easy for the Nor’easters in recent years. They have not won there since 2006, totaling a seven-game winless streak (0-5-2). This matchup just may be the most important of them all.
Being in first place with only five regular season games left to play will be crucial, especially for Ocean City who will play all five of those games in front of their home fans.
Luckily for the Nor’easters, this match will be their final road trip of the season. Those remaining five games, however, will be a bit of a different scene as the matches will be played at the Tennessee Avenue Complex while Carey Stadium is under renovations to install an organic artificial turf surface. This is not the first time that the team has played home matches away from Carey Stadium. They won a pair of playoff games at Tennessee Avenue in 2013 and will look to continue the good history there.
Kickoff for Saturday’s game is set for 7 p.m. at Don Thomas Stadium in Reading, PA.
The Ocean CIty Nor’easters Under-23 men’s team will also face the Reading Under-23 team prior to Saturday's game with a 4:30 p.m. kickoff.
The next home game for the Nor'easters will be on Friday, July 1 when they host Lehigh Valley United in the first of two Fourth of July weekend home games. The second game will be against the New York Red Bulls Under-23s on Sunday, July 3. All remaining home games will kickoff at 5 p.m.
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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.