Ocean City puts perfect record against United on the line
After returning home from a long road trip with a win this past Sunday, the Ocean City Nor’easters are heading back on the road again tonight when they visit Leigh Valley United.
The game will be played at Whitehall High Schoo in Whitehall, Pa. with kickoff scheduled for 8 p.m.
The Nor'easters are coming off a convincing 4-1 over the Jersey Express. Ocean City received goals from Tyler Collishaw, Ismael Noumansana, Fredlin "Fredinho" Mompremier and the team's leading goalscorer Ignacio Tellechea, who scored his fourth of the season. The man of the match performance came from Nikola Fimic who assisted on two of the four goals and also cleared two Jersey scoring chances off the goal line.
For head coach John Thompson, the challenge of playing a road game on a Wednesday after a Sunday home game is not to push the players too hard.
”[We're focusing on] Rest and recovery as we try to keep everyone healthy and do some team bonding,” said Thompson. “We did some set pieces on Tuesday. We just want to get the boys mentally ready and get ready for another performance on Wednesday.”
At the halfway point of the PDL regular season, the Nor'easters (5-2-0) find themselves in sole position of second place in the Mid-Atlantic Division, three points behind first place New York Red Bulls U23s, who have won all six of their games.
They will take on Leigh Valley United, a team with a 2-2-1 record. United are chasing the all-important 3rd place spot in the division, which could make them eligible for the playoffs. They are currently five points behind Reading United. They will enter the contest on their home field with some confidence after shutting out Evergreen FC in their last league game, 2-0.
Lehigh Valley and Ocean City have played each other four times, two games in each of the last two seasons. The Nor'easters have won all four meetings by a combined scored of 18-3. The first two games they played in 2015 were very lopsided with the Storm winning 5-1, followed by a record-breaking 8-0 win July 5, 2015. That last game broke the club record for biggest margin of victory, and tied the single-game record for most goals scored.
Lehigh Valley were a powerhouse in the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) from 2010-14, winning the league championship in 2012. But since joining the PDL in 2015, the club has struggled to find their footing, winning just four games in its first two seasons combined. This season, they have shown improvements with wins over the Jersey Express and Evergreen FC
The 2016 games were a different story as the games were much more competitive. Ocean City scored two goals in the final 15 minutes to beat United 2-1 on the road, followed by a 3-1 victory at the Tennessee Avenue Complex in Ocean City.
"We are looking forward to Wednesday's game," said Thompson. "The more we play, the more cohesive we become and when the lads move the ball quickly it's fun to watch. We played some entertaining football in the second half against Jersey Express so if we see a repeat of that over 90 minute we will create plenty of chances."
Fans unable to make it to the game on Wednesday night can follow live updates on the Nor'easters official Twitter account.