Tal Segev adds PK goal as Ocean City comes back to win first exhibition game of 2021
Photo by Shivant Krishnan | BrotherlyGame.com
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The Ocean City Nor'easters traveled to Chester, Pa. just outside of the City of Brotherly Love and defeated the Philadelphia Union 2 in the club's first exhibition game of the 2021 season.
After falling behind early, Ocean City scored a pair of second half goals, including a late game-winner to give the club a 2-1 win on Saturday night. The Nor'easters remain unbeaten in their last six in-season exhibition games, dating back to the 2018 season.
The only time the Nor'easters have tasted defeat in an exhibition game in recent years was on July 23, 2019 when the club agreed to a last-minute friendly against Portugese powerhouse SL Benfica, who were in New Jersey for the International Champions Cup. Ocean City played the UEFA Champions League regulars with only eight players from the team's 2019 roster and a number of guest players since the game was scheduled after the season was over and most of the squad had returned to school.
The Nor'easters, who are undefeated in USL League Two play (5-0-3) after last Wednesday's scoreless draw against first place West Chester United, took a break from league play to take on the reserve squad from the Philadelphia Union. The game was played at the Power Training Complex, located just outside of the Major League Soccer team's Subaru Park.
After Shanyder Borgelin headed home a pass from Nathan Harriel in the first half, the Union took a 1-0 lead into the halftime break. A pair of players from ACC schools helped the Nor'easters complete the comeback as Tal Segev (NC State / Rishon LeZion, Israel) converted a penalty kick midway through the second half, followed by a goal by Akeim Clarke (North Carolina / Windsor, CT) with about 10 minutes left in the contest. For Clarke, his game-winning goal came on a long ball over the top by Alex Andersson (Colorado - Colorado Springs / Helsingborg, Sweden). Both players were making their first appearances for the Nor'easters.
Owen Elliott (Penn State / Philadelphia, PA) started the match in goal for the Nor'easters and played well despite giving up the lone goal. Elliott was replaced by Michael Webber (Bowdoin College / Natick, MA) early in the second half and he kept the Union off the scoresheet to secure the win.
While the Union 2 roster mostly consisted of reserve players, there were four first team players who saw the field on Saturday night, including Matt Freese in goal.
"It's an experience we want for our lads to consistently have the speed of play, decision making, and execution at a better level," said Nor'easters head coach Alan McCann. "In order for our lads to progress onto the professional level, games like this are essential in the learning process."
The Nor'easters return to league play on Wednesday when they host the Philadelphia Lone Star FC at Carey Stadium ("The Beach House"). Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. General admission tickets are $10 each and can be purchased in advance on the Nor'easters website, and at the Carey Stadium gate with cash or with a smartphone. Soccer coaches of all levels and players from the South Jersey Elite Barons and New Jersey Surf all get in free.
Nor'easters Starting XI vs. Philadelphia Union 2
Saturday. June 19, 2021
Owen Elliott (GK)