Barons escape with 1-0 win

OC can now focus on Tuesday's Open Cup game

The Ocean City Barons snapped their three-game winless streak and leap-frogged the Virginia Legacy into second place with a 1-0 win on Saturday night. Byron Carmichael scored his third goal of the year on an assist from Kyle Evans in the 15th minute to put the Barons ahead. Ocean City was able to withstand a strong second half attack by the visitors, with Adam Edwards making nine saves for his sixth shutout of the season, a new Barons’ single-season record.

With the league match out of the way, the Barons can now focus on Tuesday’s Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup match at home against the Harrisburg City Islanders, with the winner moving on to play DC United of Major League Soccer.

The scoring began with a punt by Edwards which found its way to the Legacy third of the field, where Evans headed it forward. The ball fell into the path of a streaking Carmichael, who fought off the last defender and put it past Legacy goalkeeper Zach Thompson to put the Barons up early.

Three minutes later, Virginia nearly equalized when defender Chris Wayne took a shot off a free kick. Edwards made a sprawling save, diving to his left to keep the Legacy off the scoresheet.

Midway through the first half, Carmichael and Evans nearly hooked up again, with the Lehigh product sending in a cross from the right wing. Carmichael wasn’t able to get a solid foot on it and sent the volley over the bar from close range.

Wayne, who spoiled several chances for the Barons frontline throughout the match, saved the day in the 63rd minute when Carmichael was delivered a beautiful ball into clear space toward the left wing. The Marshall grad was one-on-one with the goalkeeper, but Wayne tracked him down from behind and cleared the ball away.

Virginia piled on the pressure late in the game, and the Barons backline held strong even after Joe Banks was sent off in the 89th minute when he was tangled up with a Legacy player. The referee alleged that a punch was thrown, but after reviewing the game tape, the Barons organization plans to appeal the decision.

Finally, on what turned out to be the final play of the game, the Legacy sent a long ball into the box, and after a mad scramble, Edwards came off his line to make the save and secure the 1-0 win.

The Barons improve to 6-1-2 (20 points) and are in sole possession of second place in the Mid-Atlantic Division. They trail the Hampton Roads Piranhas by eight points, but have a game in hand over the division leaders. The top two teams in each division qualify for the conference playoffs.

Tickets for Tuesday’s U.S. Open Cup match against the Harrisburg City Islanders can be purchased at the Carey Stadium main gate, $6 for adults, $4 for kids. Fans not able to attend the game in person can listen to a live audio broadcast through the Barons’ website at www.ocbarons.com.

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