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Ocean City Nor'easters announce 2019 USL League Two schedule

Nor'easters kick off 2019 campaign on May 18 on the road; home opener at the Beach House on June 1

Ocean City Nor'easters announce 2019 USL League Two schedule

The USL League Two (formerly the Premier Development League) released the league schedule and alignment for the 2019 season on Thursday. The league will feature 72 teams across North America split into four conferences with all teams playing a 14-game schedule.

This summer will mark the 23rd season for the Ocean City Nor'easters (17 of them in USL League Two) as they are back in the Mid-Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference for the ninth year in a row. The Nor'easters will kick off the 2019 season on Saturday, May 18 with a match on the road against FA Euro New York.

The Nor'easters' home opener will be on Saturday, June 1 as the team will host Evergreen FC at Carey Stadium ("The Beach House"). In addition to the seven regular season home games at the Beach House, there will also be some exhibition games that will be announced at a later date.

Kickoffs for all home games at Carey Stadium are scheduled for 7 p.m. All the Nor'easters home games will be played at Carey Stadium, also known as "The Beach House", in "America's Greatest Family Resort" in Ocean City, N.J. Since 2003, the Nor'easters have the fourth-best home record of any team in USL League Two with a 76-26-23 mark.

The division will play a 14-game regular season schedule. The Nor'easters will face Evergreen FC, FA Euro New York, Long Island Rough Riders, New York Red Bulls U-23s, Lehigh Valley United, expansion team Cedar Stars Rush, and the defending Mid-Atlantic Division champion, and long-time rival, Reading United AC in home and away matches.

The club will be led by head coach Tim Oswald, who returns to the sidelines after a two-year stint as the club's Director of Soccer. Oswald was the Nor'easters' head coach for five seasons and finished as the club's all-time leader in USL League Two victories with a 47-19-6 record. He led the club to a pair of Mid-Atlantic Division titles (2012, 2013), two Eastern Conference championships (2013, 2016), reaching the PDL National Semifinals in both seasons. Oswald was also a finalist for the PDL Coach of the Year award in 2012. Oswald also led Ocean City to a pair of appearances in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup (2013, 2014). In 2013, the Nor'easters earned the club's fifth all-time upset of a professional team as they knocked off the Pittsburgh Riverhounds of the USL Championship before narrowly falling to the Philadelphia Union of MLS on the road in the Third Round.

During Oswald’s five years with the Nor'easters, more than 40 players have moved on to play the game at the professional level both domestically and overseas, including 12 players who have been selected in the MLS SuperDraft.

"We have hit the ground running on the recruiting trail and are looking to make a big splash this summer," said Nor'easters head coach Tim Oswald, who is in charge of the men's soccer program at Rutgers-Camden during the college season. "I am very excited to get our former staff back together. We want to continue building on our past success and the club's tradition, while also connecting to the community we love here in Ocean City, New Jersey."

Last year, the Nor'easters finished with a 9-5-0 regular season record, which left them just short of qualifying for the league playoffs. The highlight of the season happened early in the campaign when Ocean City won two games in the U.S. Open Cup, including an upset on the road against the Charlotte Independence of the USL Championship.

This season added to the club's impressive resume that ranks them about the best PDL teams in North America. Since joining the PDL in 2003, the Nor'easters are 130-60-44, which is the sixth-best record in the league. Ocean City's 130 wins ranks 8th in USL League Two history, which dates back to 1995.

"We are excited to announce our 2019 schedule and can't wait for the season to start," said Nor'easters general manager Giancarlo Granese Jr. "All the teams are familiar rivals with the exception of the expansion Cedar Stars, and we can't wait to compete in what we believe to be the toughest divisions in the league. We are looking to build off of two successful years under John Thompson and are hoping to get back into the postseason as we seek to add a USL League Two championship to our resume. With the new coaching staff in place for 2019 we are hoping for bigger and better things."

Unfortunately, due to a drastic change in format, which included a massive reduction in the number of amateur teams that will take part in the tournament, the Nor'easters are expected to finished just short of qualifying for the 2019 U.S. Open Cup.

Below is the complete 2019 schedule along with a profile of each opponent. (Exhibition games will be announced at a future date):

DATE TIME HOME   AWAY VENUE

May 18 7:30 p.m.


FA Euro New York

vs.

Ocean City Noreasters
Ocean City Nor'easters

Poly Prep - Brooklyn, NY

May 22 7:30 p.m.


Long Island Rough Riders

vs.

Ocean City Noreasters
Ocean City Nor'easters

Hofstra Soccer Stadium - Hempstead, NY


May 29 7 p.m.

Lehigh Valley United Sonic
Lehigh Valley United

vs.

Ocean City Noreasters
Ocean City Nor'easters

Cedar Crest College - Allentown, PA


June 1 7 p.m.

Ocean City Noreasters
Ocean City Nor'easters

vs.

Evergreen FC Hammers
Evergreen FC

Carey Stadium
("The Beach House")


June 5 7 p.m.

Ocean City Noreasters
Cedar Stars Rush

vs.

Ocean City Noreasters
Ocean City Nor'easters

Fairleigh Dickinson University - Teaneck, NJ


June 12

7 p.m.

New York Red Bulls U23
New York Red Bulls U-23s

vs.

Ocean City Noreasters
Ocean City Nor'easters

Red Bull Training Facility - Whippany, NJ


June 15

7 p.m.

Reading United AC
Reading United AC

vs.

Ocean City Noreasters
Ocean City Nor'easters

Wilson High School - West Lawn, PA


June 22

7 p.m. Ocean City Noreasters
Ocean City Nor'easters

vs.

New York Red Bulls U23
New York Red Bulls U-23s

Carey Stadium
("The Beach House")

June 23 7 p.m. Ocean City Noreasters
Ocean City Nor'easters

vs.


FA Euro New York
Carey Stadium
("The Beach House")

June 28 7 p.m. Ocean City Noreasters
Ocean City Nor'easters

vs.

Lehigh Valley United Sonic
Lehigh Valley United

Carey Stadium
("The Beach House")


June 30 7 p.m. Ocean City Noreasters
Ocean City Nor'easters

vs.

Ocean City Noreasters
Cedar Stars Rush
Carey Stadium
("The Beach House")

July 3 7 p.m. Evergreen FC Hammers
Evergreen FC

vs.

Ocean City Noreasters
Ocean City Nor'easters

Evergreen Sportsplex - Leesburg, VA


July 7 7 p.m. Ocean City Noreasters
Ocean City Nor'easters

vs.

Reading United AC
Reading United AC
Carey Stadium
("The Beach House")

July 14 7 p.m. Ocean City Noreasters
Ocean City Nor'easters

vs.


Long Island Rough Riders
Carey Stadium
("The Beach House")

 

Cedar Stars Rush
USL League Two Expansion Team


The Cedar Stars Rush, an established power in the youth soccer game have joined USL League Two as an expansion team. The club is owned by George Altirs, the owner of Capelli Sport and a major owner of Penn FC of the United Soccer League. They have recently partnered with Rush Soccer and have brought in Anthony Nixon as the club's head coach for its inaugural season.

 

Evergreen FC Hammers

Evergreen FC Hammers
2018: 1-11-2, 6th place in Mid-Atlantic Division


The Nor'easters have been playing against Evergreen FC since their days as the Northern Virginia Royals. The Nor'easters first met them (as the Royals) in 2004, and despite the Royals being a pro team, Ocean City defeated them, 3-1. From that day, the Nor'easters began their all-time unbeaten streak against Evergreen FC which is currently at 14 games (13-0-1). Last year, the Nor'easters swept the two-game season series with a pair of shutouts to extend that streak.

 

FA Euro New York
2018: 3-11-0, 5th place in Mid-Atlantic Division


FA Euro New York is back in the Mid-Atlantic Division for the third year in a row. The club made it's PDL debut in 2013 and last year, they finished in fifth place (their best finish in the club's short history) for the second year in a row. The Nor'easters have played FA Euro eight times and have won all eight meetings, outscoring them 22-5. Last year, Ocean City swept FA Euro with a 2-1 road win, and a 5-0 home win that saw Alex Rose score a hat trick and earn Player of the Week honors.
 
Lehigh Valley United Sonic Lehigh Valley United
2018: 1-12-1, 7th place in Mid-Atlantic Division


Lehigh Valley United had a really challenging first two years in the PDL. United won just a single game in 2015 and upped that total to three in 2016. They won four games in 2017, but the club took a step back last year, winning just one game (1-12-1) as they participate in one of the toughest divisions in the league. The club joined USL League Two after five years in the National Premier Soccer League where they won the league championship in 2012 and made the playoffs in four of the five seasons, including two appearances in the national final four. Last year, the Nor'easters swept all three games that they played against United (2 road, 1 home) to improve their all-time record against Lehigh Valley to 8-1-0. 
 
Jersey Express Long Island Rough Riders
2018: 9-4-1, 3rd place in Northeast Division


The Nor'easters and the Rough Riders have been playing each other since the two were professional teams. When they first met in 2001, Long Island was an A-League team (Division 2 pro) and the Nor'easters were a D-3 Pro League (Division 3) team known as the South Jersey Barons. Ocean City is 8-9-4 all-time against the Rough Riders, but the two clubs have met twice in some pretty big games. In the Second Round of the 2005 US Open Cup, the Nor'easters (PDL) upset the Rough Riders, 4-0 when they were a USL Second Division (pro) team, 4-0. In 2009, Ocean City went on the road and knocked off Long Island in the opening round of the PDL playoffs. The last time the two club met was back in 2015 during the PDL regular season.

Last year, the Rough Riders finished third in the very competitive Mid-Atlantic Division with an 9-4-1 record. They fell just three points short of qualifying for the USL League Two playoffs.

 
New York Red Bulls U23 New York Red Bulls U23s
2018: 10-3-1, 2nd place in Mid-Atlantic Division


The Red Bulls U23s, joined Lehigh Valley as another team that enjoyed success in the NPSL (winning the league title in 2014) and left to join the PDL. However, unlike United, the Red Bulls continued their success into the PDL, winning a pair of division titles, qualifying for the playoffs (three times) and reaching the league championship game in 2015. The Nor'easters have a history with the Red Bulls outside of league play, as Ocean City defeated them in the First Round of the 2013 US Open Cup when New York was part of the NPSL. Last year, the Nor'easters hit the goal post four times in a 3-1 road loss early in the season and earned a 1-1 draw at home. The Nor'easters lead the all-time series 4-3-2 and have yet to lose to the Red Bulls at the Beach House (3-0-2).
 
Reading United AC Reading United AC
2018: 12-0-2, 1st place in Mid-Atlantic Division


Reading United AC are the Nor'easters' oldest rivals. Reading joined the D-3 Pro League in 1996, the year before Ocean City launched. Since then, they have played 48 times both as professional and USL League Two teams. After Reading swept both regular season meetings in 2016, the two met in the Eastern Conference championship game. It was the first time the two long-time rivals had met in a playoff game and it was Ocean City that pervailed, winning 4-1 on the road. It snapped a six-game winless streak against United and it was their first win at Reading in 10 years. Last year, Reading swept the three-game season series as United overtook the lead in the all-time series at 21-20-7.
 

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