Noreasters Face Difficult Road Test to Open 2015 Season

D.C. United U23s Host Ocean City in Inaugural PDL Home Opener

May 23rd, 2015
By: Eric Klenofsky
D.C. United U23

The Ocean City Nor’easters will be traveling to Leesburg, V.A. today to kick off their 2015 Premier Development League campaign against the newly instated D.C. United Under-23s at 7:30 p.m. at Evergreen Sports Complex.

The D.C. United U23s opened up their first PDL season after moving over from the National Premier Soccer League against the New York Red Bulls U23s on Sunday, May 17th. New York would control most of the possession but D.C. would open the scoring in the 63rd minute off a finish by UNC-Wilmington striker Colin Booner.

The Red Bulls answered in the 86th minute as Villanova’s Sean Sheridan converted the equalizer from the spot. The match ended at one apiece but that result would not be solidified. D.C. United was reported to have used an illegal player, subsequently forfeiting their first ever PDL contest. New York was credited with the 3-0 win as per PDL rules and regulations.

While D.C. United has already had one league game together, Ocean City has still yet to play. This will be the first test for the Nor’easters as they gear up for a difficult season in the Mid-Atlantic Division.

“I think the opening match for us against an MLS affiliated side is a great road test for us early in the season,” said Ocean City Head Coach Tim Oswald. “We had a tremendous camp and the guys are excited to get the ball rolling and get some matches under their belt as a group.”

Although this will be the D.C. United U23s first season in the PDL, this is not the first time Ocean City has faced off against D.C. United or one of their affiliates.

In the summer of 2009, the Ocean City Barons took on the D.C. United first team during the round of 16 in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. The Barons, now known as the Nor’easters, gave D.C. United a run for their money. After 74 minutes of scoreless action, D.C. United finally broke the deadlock in front of over two-thousand fans at the Maryland SoccerPlex. Ocean City would reluctantly fall to D.C. United 2-0 ending their U.S. Open Cup run.

That meeting between D.C. and Ocean City six years ago would be the last time these two organizations would meet until tonight. The NPSL would be the home for the D.C. United 23s until 2015. As the 2013 NPSL season commenced, the D.C. United U23s joined up and for the next two seasons, the Southeast Conference of the NPSL would be their home.

“It’s great to have them in the league now,” said Ocean City General Manager Kevin Nuss. “They’ve done pretty well for themselves over in the NPSL so it’s great to add another quality team. Having another MLS academy is great; it raises the profile of the league, the Nor’easters and the players that get to be a part of it. We’re excited to have them.”

While the Nor’easters were preparing for D.C. United on the training ground this past week, D.C. was getting ready in a different way. Just two days ago on May 21st the D.C. United U23s played host to a familiar foe in the Fort Pitt Regiment of the NPSL.

The Pittsburgh based Regiment took the trip down to Evergreen Sports Complex Thursday night to prepare for their season opener on the 29th of May. The home side would impose their will on the match coming out victorious 2-0 over the Regiment.

D.C. United will look to do the same later this evening against a revamped Nor’easters squad as Ocean City kicks off their 2015 PDL campaign.

“Starting at D.C. United, a team that is affiliated with an MLS team is just going to make things even more exciting, maybe a little more difficult but I think they have the pressure because they are affiliated with D.C.,” said 19 year-old Ocean City defender Ackim Mpofu. “We have enough good players; we just have to be a team when we get out there.”

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