Ocean City plays long-time rival Long Island Rough Riders on Saturday night
The Ocean City Nor'easters have had a tremendous start to the 2018 season. While they only have three games under their collective belt, they have won all three, including the Premier Development League (PDL) opener against FA Euro, and two wins in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, including last Wednesday's stunning upset of the Charlotte Independence, a professional team in the United Soccer League.
The Nor'easters will put their US Open Cup ambitions to the side temporarily as the focus shifts to league play as they will return to New York where they will take on the Long Island Rough Riders. The game will be played at Michael J. Tully Park in New Hyde Park, NY. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
If fans are unable to make it to Long Island to support the team, there is expected to be a live video stream available. Check in with the Ocean City Nor'easters Twitter account (@OCNoreasters) for links and in-game updates.
As far as league play is concerned, both teams come into Saturday's match having both won their opening games on the road. The Nor'easters defeated FA Euro New York last Sunday 2-1. Deri Corfe (Wright State / Chester, England) scored a goal and delivered the free kick that led to the go-ahead own goal by FA Euro. Alec Smir (North Carolina / Greensboro, NC) made five saves in the win.
Long Island, who are the PDL affiliate of MLS side New York City FC, won their opener over last year's division champions, New York Red Bulls U-23s. The Rough Riders won by the score of 3-1 with goals coming from Noah Hutchins, Alexander Dexter and Nathaniel Crofts.
Another thing the two clubs have in common is that they both took part in the US Open Cup. The Rough Riders won a thrilling First Round game, They took a 2-2 draw against Kingston Stockade (NPSL) into extra time where Long Island's offense came alive, scoring four goals to win the game 6-3. Their Open Cup run came to an end in Round 2 when they lost 5-0 on the road against the defending USL champion Louisville City FC. They were shut out in that game by a former Ocean City Nor'easters player, Tim Dobrowolski, who was in goal for Louisville City that night.
The Rough Riders franchise dates back to the mid-1990s, so Ocean City and Long Island have crossed paths more than a few times. They were in different leagues in the early years so they didn't meet for the first time until 2001 when they split a pair of games despite Long Island being in the A-League and Ocean City (then known as the South Jersey Barons) were in the D-3 Pro League (there were a few instances of teams from each league playing each other as part of the regular season).
Ocean City is 7-8-4 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 Long Island was a USL Second Division (pro) team. Four different Ocean City players scored that day: Tony Donatelli, Ruben Mingo, Adam Williamson, and Steven Wacker. All four of them would move on to play professional soccer.
In 2009, Ocean City went on the road and knocked off Long Island in the opening round of the PDL playoffs. Ocean CIty's all-time leading scorer Byron Carmichael scored that day along with Rory McCrea. Another future pro, JT Noone assisted on both goals.
The two clubs have not played over the last couple of years because they played in separate divisions. Prior to the 2018 season, the PDL announced that the Rough Riders would be returning to the Mid-Atlantic Division.
Last year, the Rough Riders finished second in the very competitive Northeast Division with an 8-2-4 record. They qualified for the PDL playoffs and nearly pulled off what the Nor'easters did a year ago. They defeated two division champions (New York Red Bulls U-23s, Myrtle Beach Mutiny) before falling in penalty kicks in the Eastern Conference championship game to the Charlotte Eagles, who would move on to win the PDL title.