Preview: Nor'easters prepare for playoffs with regular season finale at Philadelphia

Ocean City looking to avenge first loss of the season vs. Lone Star FC

Preview: Nor'easters prepare for playoffs with regular season finale at Philadelphia

The Ocean City Nor'easters wrap up the 2021 USL League Two regular season with a road match against Philadelphia Lone Star FC on Sunday night.

The Nor'easters clinched second place in the Mid-Atlantic Division with a 2-1 loss to West Chester United on Friday night. With the division title out of reach, Sunday's finale will act as a warm-up for next weekend's Eastern Conference playoffs. The host and the matchups for the first two rounds of the Eastern Conference tournament are still to be determined. It will either be hosted by the Northeast Division champion Western Mass Pioneers (Ludlow, Mass.) or Northern Virginia FC, who failed to qualify for the postseason.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the South Philadelphia Super Site.

For fans unable to make it to South Philadelphia on Sunday, Lone Star FC will be providing a live video stream of the match. Fans can access the live video by clicking HERE. Links and live updates will also be provided on Ocean City's Twitter account (@OCNoreasters).

The Nor'easters will try to keep a pair of streaks going. Ocean City are riding a six-game road unbeaten streak dating back to the 2019 season and haven't lost a season finale since 2014 (3-0-2).

On Friday night, after a weather delay that lasted more than two hours, the Ocean City Nor'easters lost their regular season home finale to West Chester United, 2-1. The visitors scored a goal shortly before the lightning delay and shortly after, and despite creating plenty of chances, and scoring a second half goal, the Storm were unable to find the equalizer.

The loss snapped the Nor'easters' three-game winning streak, and ended the Storm's chances of winning the Mid-Atlantic Division. When the rain stopped and the final whistle blew, West Chester United clinched the division title and Ocean City (8-2-3) had to settle for second place.

Theo Quartey (Villanova / Accra, Ghana) scored Ocean City's lone goal in the second half on a penalty kick. It was Quartey's third goal of the season to go along with his team-leading five assists. Simon Becher (St. Louis Univ. / Brooklyn, CT), who was recently named to the USL League Two Team of the Month (June), leads the team in scoring with nine goals in 11 matches.

This is the third meeting between these clubs during the 2021 season, and the fourth all-time.

On June 9, Philadelphia was supposed to host Ocean City, but scheduling issues with the Lone Star's home venue forced the game to be moved to Carey Stadium. The Storm won 2-1 with Tal Segev and Simon Becher each scoring for Ocean City to overcome a first half goal by Philadelphia's Zoncher Dennis, who is the Nor'easters' fifth all-time leading scorer.

On June 23, the Lone Stars returned to the Beach House and handed the Nor'easters their first loss of the season. Ocean City lost a narrow 2-1 decision to Philadelphia after giving up two early goals. At halftime, Akeim Clarke (North Carolina / Windsor, CT) came off the bench and scored his first Ocean City goal within a minute of stepping on the field. Despite numerous chances, the Storm were unable to find an equalizer and the club's 15-game unbeaten streak and the 13-game home unbeaten streak both came to an end.

The Philadelphia Lone Star were supposed to join USL League Two as an expansion team in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed their debut until 2021. But this won't be the first time they have played against the Nor'easters. The first time they met was in the 2017 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup when Ocean City beat Lone Star FC (back when they were under the name "Junior Lone Star FC"), 3-1 in the First Round of the tournament. The two teams met again toward the end of the 2019 season in an exhibition game when Lone Star was a member of the NPSL. The game finished in a 1-1 draw with league MVP Deri Corfe scoring the lone goal. Philadelphia's only tally came from an Ocean City own goal.

Lone Star has been a club since 2001, playing in various Philadelphia area leagues before joining the NPSL where they remained until this past season.

Philadelphia enters Wednesday's game with a 5-8-0 record. The Lone Stars rebounded from a slow start (losing 4 of their first 5) and found themselves in the playoff hunt by winning four of their next five. However, after beating Ocean City on June 23, they were unable to keep the momentum going as they lost three straight road games (at Northern Virginia, at West Chester United, at Reading United AC) and were eliminated from postseason contention. A win or a draw against the Nor'easters on Sunday night would end their season on a positive note and clinch fourth place in the division.

Lone Star FC features a balanced attack on offense. Out of the team's 13 goals, no player has more than two goals with seven different players tied for the team lead. Abdul Kooistra leads the team with four assists, which is tied for second in the league. Former Ocean City player Zoncher Dennis has scored two goals in two matches in just 73 minutes of playing time.

Ocean City Nor'easters Club Shop

Ocean City Nor'easters Club Shop