2-1 victory away to Central Jersey Spartans
The Ocean City Nor’easters kicked off the defense of their Mid-Atlantic Division Championship with a 2-1 win over in-state rivals Central Jersey Spartans.
The Jersey Shore boys started quickly with an early goal from number 7 Abe Keller to settle the nerves in the first game of the regular season. The goal came on the counter attack after some fine work from Frank Tweneboa down the byline he crossed for Keller who worked hard to get into the penalty area to finish past the Spartans keeper.
The second Nor’easters goal effectively put the game beyond the Spartans as quick thinking by Emmanuel Kollie with a short corner routine found Drexel star Ken Tribbetts head. Tribbett headed powerfully into the corner to make it 2-0 before the break.
After half time the game got a lot more physical and the Spartans began to be more of a threat. The Nor’easters might have had one eye on their US Open Cup tie against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds just 3 days away as they missed a few chances and allowed Central Jersey more of the ball. The Spartans got their goal after winning the ball in the middle third and breaking quickly to score past substitute goalkeeper Keasel Broome.
The statistics show how the game deteriorated into a physical battle as the fouls built up 19-8 and yellow cards 5-1 to Central Jersey Spartans. The Nor’easters dominated the game overall with 10 shots to the Spartans 3.
Head Coach Tim Oswald reflected on the game "The boys managed to grind out a win on the road in a bit of a trap game between Open Cup matches. With so much focus and hype surrounding the Open Cup and the upcoming match with Pittsburgh Riverhounds USL Pro squad, the coaches found a way to sub early and often and the guys found a way to put together a tough 90 min on the road against a gritty and hard working Central NJ team to earn a 2-1 W."
"We were sitting on a very comfortable 2-0 leading before the half and dictated much of the play and possession in the 1st half except for a few counters earned by Central Jersey Spartans after OC was dispossessed in the middle 3rd. Unfortunately, we didn’t find that 3rd goal to close the match out and we let up a poor goal as we looked to build."
"We had moments of excellent football and then moments when we tried to do a bit to much on the ball and guys tried to will to much of the game on themselves. If we can play short quick combinations and limit touches in midfield and final 3rd, we are incredibly dangerous."
"It was great to earn 3 road points...and better yet to experience a tight game late to see some of the true colors of our players."