The Ocean City Nor’easters are set to take on the Charlotte Eagles on Saturday at 5 p.m. in the PDL Eastern Conference Semifinals. The semifinals and finals will be played on Don Thomas Stadium in Reading, Pa.
The Charlotte Eagles were crowned the regular season Eastern Conference champions after finishing with the most points across the three divisions. Their 34 points (11-2-1) are tied for third best across the entire 67-team Premier Development League. Eagles defender Macauley King is the 12th-ranked PDL prospect. Santiago Moar led the team in the main offensive categories, scoring eight goals and adding four assists in 14 appearances. He is only one of two players that played in every match for Charlotte this year.
Nor’easters forward Nathan Regis spent the last PDL campaign with the Charlotte Eagles. His play earned him a spot on the All-PDL team and after getting a taste of winning a national title with Pfeiffer University (and winning the NCAA Division II Player of the Year award), he is anxious to bring Ocean City its first national championship.
Regis finished the season tied for the league lead in assists with nine, which also tied the Ocean City single-season record.
Seven of those nine assists went to his teammate and the PDL's leading goalscorer Chevaughn “Chevy” Walsh who only needs one goal to break the club record for goals in one season in all competitions. He led the PDL in scoring in the regular season with 14 and scored in Tuesday's playoff-opening win over GPS Portland Phoenix to give him 15, which ties him with Ruben Mingo's total from the 2004 season.
That win over the Northeast Division champion Portland Phoenix was played at the University of New England in Maine. It was the first playoff win for the Nor'easters since their run to the national semifinals in 2013. They won 3-1 with goals by Walsh, Regis, and Mutaya Mwape.
The Nor'easters and the Charlotte Eagles may play in different divisions but they have a long history together. In fact, the very first game in club history back in 1997 was played against the Eagles. Things were much different back then. Both teams were members of the USL's D-3 Pro League and the Nor'easters were known as the South Jersey Barons. On April 18, 1997, the Eagles prevailed when the match finished 1-1, but Charlotte won the shootout. In the last game of the season that year, the Barons won the rematch 2-1 at home.
The Nor'easters have never played the Eagles as a PDL team, but as a pro team (1997-2002) they played each other five times with Ocean City finishing with a 2-3 record. The last time they met was the biggest. The two teams squared off in the D-3 Pro League's National semifinal in 1999 with South Jersey winning 3-2 in a shootout to reach the championship game. They would fall 2-1 to the Western Mass Pioneers in the title game.
The Nor'easters moved from the D-3 Pro League to the PDL ahead of the 2003 season, while the Eagles played their last pro season in 2014 before joining the PDL.
After the Eagles and Nor'easters play at 5 p.m. on Saturday, the second semifinal will follow between the hosts Reading United and the Carolina Dynamo. Reading defeated the Western Mass Pioneers 3-1 to earn a spot in the last four while the Carolina Dynamo dominated SC United Bantams with a 4-1 victory.
The two semifinal winners will need to recover quickly to play in the final on Sunday night 7 p.m. in Reading.
For more information on the Ocean City Nor'easters or to "Follow the Storm" on social media, go to www.oceancityfc.com/followthestorm or text "FOLLOWTHESTORM" to 22828 to join the "Storm Watch" e-newsletter.
The Ocean City Nor’easters is a professionally run amateur soccer club with the focus of developing, educating and promoting soccer, health and leadership. Located in Ocean City, New Jersey, “America’s Greatest Family Resort”, the Nor’easters provide quality entertainment to families throughout the Tri-State area and the thousands of visitors every summer.
The Nor’easters organization was established in 1996 and made Carey Stadium, in Ocean City, NJ, its permanent home in 2005. Competing in North America’s top amateur league, the Premier Development League (PDL), the Nor’easters provide the highest level of soccer in Southern New Jersey. The 65-team PDL is the 4th level of soccer in the United States, below the professional leagues; Major League Soccer (MLS), North American Soccer League (NASL) and United Soccer League (USL). As part of the PDL, the Nor’easters’ have the sixth-best overall record since joining the league in 2003 and have upset five professional teams in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, third-most of any amateur team in the country. Ocean City players have the ability to compete during the summer months in a professional environment while maintaining their collegiate eligibility and pursuing their academic goals.