Article courtesy of Ed Farnsworth and Philly Soccer Page
The Ocean City Nor’easters bowed out of the US Open Cup in the second round last night 2-0 in a tough, physical match at home at Carey Stadium against New York Greek American Atlas of the USASA-affiliated Cosmopolitan Soccer League.
The Nor’easters, whose successful run in the cup last year ended in a 2-1 third round loss to the Philadelphia Union at PPL Park, never got into any sort of rhythm against the experienced Greek American side, which included former Union defender Cristian Arrieta.
Ocean City is a different team than last year, seeing just seven players return from the 2013 team that made it to the USL-PDL national semi-finals. Also returning to the team after a stint last season with Reading United was Jason Plumhoff. Before the match though, coach Tim Oswald signed a three year contract extension with the team.
Almost from the start, the Greeks took Ocean City out of their game as the slightly older, slightly stronger side from New York muscled their way through the Nor’easter midfield, moving with ease. The forward combo of Josh Trott and Keith Detelj pinned back the home side’s back four, with Detelj acting as a battering ram through out the match.
As a result, the usually pleasing to watch Nor’easter were forced into a long ball team through most of the game. They gave up size on the forward line, so nearly every ball in the box was dealt with easily.
The Greeks pressure and possession paid off early in the first half when Trott and Detelj broke through the Nor’easter back line. In the 10th minute Detelj put a cross into the box and, with Ocean City’s goalkeeper Broja Angoita off his line, Trott easily tapped in the tally to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
From then on the home team was chasing. The usually crafty Frank Tweneboa played the first half at center forward and struggled both with service and with the large Greek American center backs. The Greeks showed their fitness through out the first half, chasing down every loose ball and pressuring Ocean City every time they attempted move out of their end.
The second half opened with two subs for the Nor’easters, with big forwards Aaron Dennis and Ben Maurey entering to strengthen the side. But whatever game plan coach Oswald had in mind for the second half went up in smoke when Trott scored his second goal of the night.
After that it was pretty much job done for New York Greeks., with their line playing deep as Ocean City stepped up pressure towards the end of the much. The most excitement of the second half following the second Greek Americans goal saw both teams come together after a hard tackle with the Nor’easters Ian Hines-Ike being shown a red card after all was said and done.
Ocean City head coach Tim Oswald, who had just signed a three-year contract extension, said, ”We weren’t as sharp as we needed to be. We didn’t match the intensity or the work rate of the Greek Americans.” Oswald explained that chasing early goals in both halves worked against what the team wanted to do.
Greeks coach Stavros Zomopoulos said “Our team is a little bit older so we have maybe a little more experience, hoping that we have a little bit higher football IQ, so we can read the game a little bit faster.”
Zomopoulos praised former Union man Cristian Arrieta, who he said has brought a wealth of experience to his side.
The Greeks move onto play Richmond on the road in the third round on Wednesday, May 28.
Despite the early US Open Cup exit, the Nor’easters will soon have another shot at a national championship when they travel to Carroll Field in Gambrills, MD, on May 22 for the semifinals of the US Soccer National Amateur Championships. Their opponent for the semifinal game has yet to be determined.
Before that, Ocean City begin their 2014 PDL season when they head to Long Island to take on the Rough Riders.