After falling to Rough Riders 1-0, team prepares for Tuesday's Cup match in North Carolina
The Ocean City Nor'easters lost their first game of the 2018 season, falling 1-0 on the road against the Long Island Rough Riders on Saturday night. The lone goal was scored by Long Island's Charlie Ledula in the 61st minute as Ocean City failed to score a goal in a game for the first time since June 29 of last year.
It was the first meeting with the Rough Riders since the 2015 season as Long Island returned to the Mid-Atlantic Division this season. The Nor'easters drop to 1-1 in league play, while Long Island remains tied for first place in the Mid-Atlantic Division with a 2-0 record.
The Nor'easters have little time to rest as they must quickly shift their focus back to the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. On Tuesday, they will travel down to North Carolina for the second week in a row and this time they will take on the USL's North Carolina FC in Cary, NC. The winner will advance to Round 4 where they will face one of the 20 US-based Major League Soccer teams that will join the tournament next round.
As for the PDL game on Saturday, it was a disappointing loss for the team.
"It's always disappointing to lose a football match, but we will take the positives from the game that we defended well and managed to create some good chances against a quality team who had more experience than ourselves," said Nor'easters head coach John Thompson. "The game was always going to be decided by a single goal or finish in a draw, and it could have been a draw. Congrats to Long Island and we look forward to testing ourselves against them in the return fixture."
The two teams will meet again at Carey Stadium in Ocean City on June 3 in what will be the Nor'easters 2018 home opener. Kickoff at the Beach House is scheduled, like all home games this year, for 7 p.m.
It was an even match from start to finish with both teams creating multiple chances. One of the best chances of the game for the Nor'easters came just before halftime when a ball was played in from the wing and the ball found Abdul Mansary (Wilmington / London, England) but the goalkeeper was able to palm the ball away to keep the game scoreless going into the halftime break.
Long Island broke the deadlock in the 61st minute. Long Island won a free kick on the left wing about 45 yards from goal. The ball was played low to the top of the 18-yard box where the ball was snuck through to Charlie Ledula who found himself one-on-one with Ocean City goalkeeper Alec Smir (North Carolina / Greensboro, NC) to put the home team on the board.
The Nor'easters were unable to find the equalizer in the final 30 minutes despite putting high pressure on the Long Island goal.
After Ocean City plays in their US Open Cup game on Tuesday, they will return to league play on Sunday, May 27 when they will head north to take on the New York Red Bulls Under-23s. Originally they were scheduled to play at Lehigh Valley United on Wednesday, May 23, but the game was postponed due to Ocean City's participation in the US Open Cup. The rescheduled date will be announced at a later date.
UNSUNG HERO OF THE GAME
Aside from the lone goal, the Ocean City backline kept goalkeeper Alec Smir relatively safe, but there were a few moments where the UNC netminder made some exceptional saves to keep the game within striking distance.