Mompremier, Corfe each score goals but Ocean City's playoff hopes now on life support
The Ocean City Nor'easters' Premier Development League (PDL) playoff hopes took a major blow on Saturday night with a 4-2 loss to rivals Reading United AC. At Carey Stadium, Fredlin "Fredinho" Mompremier (Fairleigh Dickinson / Limbe, Haiti) and Deri Corfe (Wright State / Chester, England) each scored for Ocean City but the undefeated Reading side was just too much as they clinch the Mid-Atlantic Division title for the second time in the last three years.
With the loss, Ocean City's three-game winning streak comes to an end and the club's chances of qualifying for the PDL playoffs were put on life support with a 7-5-0 record. It was the 48th meeting between the two clubs and now Reading takes the lead in the all-time series 21-20-7. United hasn't held the lead in the series since 1999.
The top second place team among the three divisions in the Eastern Conference qualifies for the postseason. The only chance the Storm have to qualify is to win their final two league games (home vs. Lehigh Valley United, home vs. New York Red Bulls Under-23s) and hope that neither Long Island Rough Riders (two games remaining) or the Red Bulls Under-23s (three remaining games) fail to earn more than one point from their remaining games.
Ocean City will be scoreboard watching on Sunday night as the Red Bulls will host Evergreen FC. If New York gets a win or a draw, the Nor'easters will be eliminated from contention.
"It was another game where we created great chances to score, some dangerous counter attacking moments against the best defensive team in the conference, but no result to show for it," said Nor'easters head coach John Thompson. "We look on to Wednesday [against Lehigh Valley United] and we need a crucial three points to give us a chance at qualifying for the 2019 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup."
While the playoffs may be a long shot, the Nor'easters can still qualify for next year's US Open Cup. The format for next year's tournament is not set, but the Storm have qualified for the last two years with 27 points (2016 season) and 28 points (2017 season). If Ocean City win their remaining two league games, they will finish with 27 points.
Next up, the Nor'easters will look to get one of those two wins when they host Lehigh Valley United on Wednesday night at the Beach House. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
The goals came fast and furious in the opening few minutes with Ocean City's Fredinho answering an early Reading goal by Felipe Hideki. In the 7th minute, Mompremier, the winner of the most recent PDL Goal of the Week, received a ball from Ignacio Tellechea (California Santa Barbara / Madrid, Spain) and placed a well-placed ball into the back of the net for his second league goal in the last two games.
Reading United re-took control of the game with a pair of goals from Khori Bennett in the 14th minute and Daniel Krutzen six minutes later.
In the 28th minute, Mompremier, who leads the team in assists, nearly created another one. Fredinho, last year's leading scorer, sent a cross to this year's leading scorer Alex Rose (North Carolina / Cary, NC) but the young forward hit the side netting.
Max Hemmings (Georgia State / Wokingham, England) had another chance in the 35th minute. Hemmings launched a shot from distance only to see it strike the goal post and roll across the goal mouth and stayed out.
Five minutes after Rose had his shot denied by Reading goalkeeper Bennet Strutz, Corfe cut United's lead in half just before halftime. After a Reading turnover in their defensive third, Rose found a wide open Corfe who scored his fifth league goal of the season.
In the 63rd minute, Bennett scored his second goal of the game to give Reading a 4-2 lead.
Two minutes later, the Nor'easters kept the pressure on and hit the post again. Ocean City defender Sam Jones (North Carolina / Cardiff, Wales), who is second on the team in minutes played behind Corfe, got his head to a cross and banged it off the crossbar.
Ocean City netminder Todd Morton (Delaware / West Chester, PA) kept the home team in the game. After Reading's El Medkhar hit the post in the 68th minute, Morton kept Bennett from a hat trick by making a point-blank save two minutes later. Morton made four saves in the game.
The Storm's hopes for a late rally were squashed when Kyle Gurrieri (South Carolina / Totowa, NJ) received a second yellow card in the 86th minute and was sent off.
WILD CARD STANDINGS
Top second place team earns playoff berth
UPDATED through July 7
|New York Red Bulls U-23s||3||8-2-1||25||+23|
|Long Island Rough Riders||2||8-3-1||25||+9|
|North Carolina FC U-23s||1||6-3-4||22||+6|
|OCEAN CITY NOR'EASTERS||2||7-5-0||21||+5|
|GPS Portland Phoenix||2||6-3-3||21||+3|
New York Red Bulls U-23s
7/8 - vs. Evergreen FC (0-9-2)
7/13 - at Long Island Rough Riders (7-3-1)
7/15 - at Ocean City Nor'easters (7-4-0)
Long Island Rough Riders
7/11 - at FA Euro New York (2-9-0)
7/13 - vs. New York Red Bulls U-23s (8-2-1)
Ocean City Nor'easters
7/11 - vs. Lehigh Valley United (1-9-1)
7/15 - vs. New York Red Bulls U-23s (8-2-1)
North Carolina FC U-23s
7/14 - at Charlotte Eagles (3-5-3)
GPS Portland Phoenix
7/8 - at AC Connecticut (4-5-2)
7/15 - vs. Western Mass Pioneers (3-4-4)