The two clubs meet for the 47th time on Wednesday night after Reading's 3-1 win last Saturday
One of the oldest rivalries in the Premier Development League (PDL) will add another chapter on Wednesday night when the Ocean City Nor'easters host Reading United AC.
The game will take place at Carey Stadium (aka: "The Beach House") in Ocean City, NJ with kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m. The rivalry dates back to 1997 and the Nor'easters will look to keep their PDL playoff hopes alive as the team passes the midway point of the season. Entering Wednesday's contest, Reading is the division's only undefeated team (7-0-1, 22 points) and the Nor'easters are in fourth place with a 4-3-0 record (12 points). The top two teams in the division qualify for the postseason and the Storm are seven points behind the second place Long Island Rough Riders, but Ocean City have played one fewer game.
The Nor'easters entered last weekend riding a three-game winning streak with back-to-back shutouts over Long Island (2-0) and Evergreen FC (1-0), followed by a 4-1 road win over Lehigh Valley United. That win streak was snapped with a 3-1 loss to Reading on Saturday night. Abdul Mansaray (Wilmington / London, England), who had two goals and an assist against Evergreen, scored the lone goal for the Nor'easters against Reading and remains the club's leading scorer with three goals and one assist.
Reading United AC are the Nor'easters' oldest rivals. Reading joined the D-3 Pro League in 1996, the year before Ocean City launched. Since then, they have played 46 times both as professional and PDL teams. Ocean City leads the all-time series 20-19-7, but Reading has had the better run in recent years. After Reading swept both regular season meetings in 2016, the two met in the Eastern Conference championship game. It was the first time the two long-time rivals had met in a playoff game and it was Ocean City that prevailed, winning 4-1 on the road. It snapped a six-game winless streak against United and it was their first win at Reading in 10 years. Last year, the two teams played each other three times, with Reading winning both games on their home field and Ocean City edging United 1-0 at the Beach House on July 2. Once again, Reading and Ocean City will meet three times. Saturday marks the first of those three meetings. The remaining two will be played at the Beach House this Wednesday, June 20 and again on Saturday, July 7.
Reading United has been a totally different team since they became a minor league affiliate of the Philadelphia Union before the 2010 season. They have won two division titles and have finished qualified for the PDL playoffs seven of the last eight years. The Nor'easters and Reading United are very similar (which likely contributes to the rivalry). Both teams have reached the PDL Semifinals twice but have fallen short in their goal of reaching the league championship game.
Also, both teams have had dozens of former players move on to play professionally. The Reading offense runs through Aaron Molloy. The Penn State Nittany Lion is currently ranked No. 1 on the PDL's Top Prospect list. He leads the team with three goals and three assists. Other top prospects on the list include a pair of defenders, Daniel Krutzen (Albany, No. 7) and Kamal Miller (Syracuse, No. 21) and midfielder Lamine Conte (Louisville, No. 38). Ocean City has two players ranked in the Top 40: Alec Smir (North Carolina, No. 17), and Alex Rose (North Carolina, No. 39)