It was a chilly but sunny evening in Ocean City with the cool sea breeze being the calm before the storm. The Ocean City Nor’easters beat the New York Red Bulls U23s 2-0 to proceed to the second round of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.
The Red Bulls fans made themselves heard from before the game with their well known chants and songs.
The field is dry and bobbly making playing soccer difficult for both sides right now. The winning team is who will adjust the quickest
The action burst into life 8 minutes into the game as Duke Lacroix muscled past the Red Bulls central defender, shot past the keeper but just wide of the far post. This was a sign of things to come as the Nor’easters piled on the pressure as the second half progressed.
The goal came on the 14th minute as a result of the Red Bulls defending too high and Lacroix was sent free by the long clearance by goalkeeper Keasel Broome.
The Nor’easters were not letting off as attacking right back Sean McLaws ripped a cross right along the 6 yard box just minutes later and only needed a touch to go in. On top of that the long throw-ins of Kevin Curran were becoming and even stronger weapon. The confidence was brimming as bought out his box of tricks to beat the full back.
As the second half was coming to a close on 38 minutes McClaren was set free, bent it round the keeper, but clipped the top of the Red Bulls crossbar. The Nor’easters were hoping they wouldn’t live to regret the missed chances as the Red Bulls went close on 40 minutes with a great save by Broome from a shot inside his 6 yard area.
Frank Tweneboa picked up the first yellow card of the game after a foul on the goalkeeper. It was this foul that led to the change of keepers as the second half started.
Half time was filled on the field by the young players of the Nor’easters youth soccer affiliate Jersey Premier Soccer who took their turns in scoring at Carey Stadium.
The second half started with the Red Bulls a bit more lively, attacking the Nor’easters goal with a bigger threat. However, the Nor’easters continued to stretch the backline of the Red Bulls. The second goal came on 58 minutes as Tweneboa dribbled down the right hand side, cut towards the goal and pulled it back for Perea to tap home.
The floodgates threatened to open on the 63rd minute as Zoncher Dennis fed Lacroix who struck the post with a powerful shot inside the box. That combination picked up again as this time Dennis crossed for Lacroix who shot off balance and the ball spun wide of the upright.
On 75 minutes the Red Bulls had one of their few attacks drawing a good save from Broome after a 30 yard powerful strike.
Nor’easter right back Sean McLaws was very impressive as he bombed up and down the right flank all night. Other standouts included returners Frank Tweneboa, Duke Lacroix and long time left back Kevin Curran.
The game sparked in the last minute with a couple of New York Red Bulls U23s chances but overall they struggled to break down the Nor’easters defense as they did not let them get into a rhythm.
It was a fantastic performance by the Nor’easters and Tim Oswald stopped to comment, "First of all it was great to get a win in the cup competition and go into the next round. We played fantastically and this is the start of a great 2013"
The Ocean City Nor’easters will now host the Pittsburgh Riverhounds of USL Pro in the second round of the US Open Cup. The game will be played at Carey Stadium on Tuesday May 21st with a 7:30pm kick off.
Nor’easters starters: Keasel Broome (GK); Kevin Curran, Tyler Hilliard, Jhamie Hyde, Sean McLaws; Ken Tribbett, Nick Perea, Abe Keller; Duke Lacroix, Reco McLaren, Frank Tweneboa
New York Red Bulls starters: Brown (GK); Jack, Ehrenworth, Landon, Sheridon (C); Dilva, Thomson, Bedoya; Innocinzi, Allen, Francisco
MVP: Duke Lacroix