Nor'easters host Reading United on Saturday night in must-win game

Long-time rivals square off at Carey Stadium; Kickoff at 7 p.m with pre-game festivities, 1st Annual Mascot Race at halftime

Reading United 
(8-1-3)
at
 Ocean City FC
(4-4-4)
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The Ocean City Nor’easters have their backs up against the wall as they head into Saturday’s crucial match against Reading United at Carey Stadium. Anything less than a win will eliminate them from playoff contention.

The game isn't the only form of entertainment at The Beach House on Saturday night as the Nor'easters will host the 1st annual Mascot Race at halftime of the match. In addition to the race, which will feature as many as 10 local mascots, Ocean City FC will be hosting plenty of carnival-style games for the whole family prior to the game's 7 p.m. kickoff.

The two long-time rivals have a lot in common. Both clubs were founded in 1996 and played each other as members of the USL D-3 Pro League and both eventually switched to the Premier Development League. Ocean City made the switch in 2003, while Reading followed suit the year after.

Another similarity is that the two franchises received a makeover this past offseason. Reading United were known throughout their history as the Reading Rage, but were reborn as Reading United AC with a new logo and the team colors became navy and gold. Ocean City changed their nickname from the Barons to the Nor’easters and also re-branded themselves with royal blue and white colors and new logo.

History is on the side of Ocean City in Saturday’s matchup as this is the 12th meeting between these two clubs in PDL play. The Nor’easters have only lost to Reading once during that time (6-1-4) and that lone loss came on July 20, 2007 by a score of 5-4. The game featured a number of young, inexperienced players for Ocean City since they had clinched a playoff spot the game before and were resting many of their starters.

The Nor’easters have never lost to Reading at home in six all-time meetings (5-0-1), outscoring their rivals 15-3 in those games.

However, things are different this year as Reading has recently joined the ranks of the league’s elite clubs. Last year, they were the PDL regular season champions, and this year they have continued to impress with an 8-1-3 record and will enter Saturday’s game in second place in the Mid-Atlantic Division.

The only hope Ocean City has to make the playoff is to win on Saturday and continue on to win their three remaining games, which are will all be played at the Beach House in Ocean City. If they accomplish this, they will need Reading to slip up in their remaining three games (at New Jersey Rangers, home vs. New Jersey Rangers, at Central Jersey Spartans). If United earn more than one point in their three remaining games, Ocean City will be eliminated.

Tickets for Saturday's match are $6 for adults, $4 for kids and can be purchased at the entrance gate, or online at OCNJ.us.

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