Ocean City's Deri Corfe chasing USL League Two scoring title as Nor'easters try to improve their chances of qualifying for 2020 US Open Cup
The Ocean City Nor'easters will wrap up the 2019 USL League Two season at Carey Stadium ("The Beach House") when they host the Long Island Rough Riders on Sunday night.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
There will not be a live broadcast available, so fans who are unable to make it out to the Beach House can follow live updates on the Nor'easters' official Twitter account @OCNoreasters.
While the USL League Two playoffs are just out of reach for the Nor'easters and the Rough Riders, the long-time rivals still have something to play for as they try to improve their chances of qualifying for the 2020 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.
The Rough Riders enter the game with a 5-1-7 record, tied with the Nor'easters for second place with 22 points. No one in USL League Two has more draws than Long Island (7) and they enter the game unbeaten in their last 10 games (3-0-7).
Their last game was last Friday, on the road against Cedar Stars Rush where their playoff hopes were dashed with a 1-1 draw. Matthew Sloan scored the lone goal for the Rough Riders as the Rush scored a 79th minute equalizer.
Long Island's only loss of the season came on their home field against Ocean City back on May 22. The Nor'easters won 3-1 that day with Deri Corfe (Wright State / Chester, England) scoring two goals and Claudio Repetto (Coastal Carolina / Genova, Italy) added a goal and an assist. The only goal scored by Long Island that day was on a late penalty kick by Manuel Ferriol in the 88th minute.
On Wednesday, the Nor'easters played an exhibition game with the Philadelphia Lone Star FC of the NPSL. The game finished 1-1 at the Beach House with Deri Corfe scoring the lone goal. Philadelphia played the majority of the match down a man due to a first half red card, but they managed to salvage a draw due to an Ocean City own goal in the second half. Ocean City is now undefeated in the club's last five exhibition games dating back to last season, and Corfe, who has a league-leading 12 goals entering the weekend, has also scored a goal in each of the three friendlies the team has played this season.
In the Nor'easters' last league game, they handed division winners Reading United AC their first loss of the season with a 4-1 win last Sunday. Deri Corfe became just the 11th player in club history to score a hat trick and Claudio Repetto added his 8th goal of the season. Jan Hoffelner (St. John's / Frankfurt, Germany) made five saves and nearly had a clean sheet but United scored a 90th minute goal to break the shutout. It was the 50th all-time meeting between the two clubs and it extended Ocean City's six-game unbeaten streak (4-0-2), and its eight-game home unbeaten streak (7-0-1) dating back to last season.
Despite the loss, Reading United AC clinched the Mid-Atlantic Division title for the third time in the last four years.
While this year's playoffs are out of reach, there's still potentially something to play for. Sunday night's game is also important for possibly qualifying for the 2020 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. While we don't know how many teams from USL League Two will enter next year's national tournament, the goal is to finish as high in the overall league standings as possible to have a chance to qualify. Right now, the Nor'easters entered Saturday in 24th place but a win against the Rough Riders could move them as high as No. 16. If Corpus Christi and Seattle both lose their Sunday games and Ocean City beats Long Island, the Nor'easters would jump into 16th place.
From 2014-16, the top 19 teams in the overall standings qualified. That increased to 21 in 2017, and then the top 20 got in for the 2018 US Open Cup. However, that number unfortunately dipped to 10 last year. Hopefully the United States Soccer Federation, which runs the competition will increase the number of teams.
Corfe and Repetto have been one of the best goalscoring duos in Ocean City history and they will look to add to their already impressive resumes in Sunday's season finale. Corfe enters Sunday's season finale two goals behind Kyle Edwards of Brazos Valley Cavalry FC for the league lead in goals with 12. If Corfe scores two goals against Long Island, he will join Chevaughn "Chevy" Walsh as the only Nor'easters player in history to lead the league in scoring when he scored 14 goals during the 2016 season en route to being named the USL League Two MVP. Corfe needs two goals to also match Walsh's 14-goal total in 2016 which broke the club record for single-season goals.
Repetto is currently tied for third-best in the league with eight goals. He is currently riding a five-game goalscoring streak. A goal on Sunday would move him one goal shy of the club record for consecutive league games with at least one goal (Ruben Mingo had a 7-game goalscoring streak from 2003 - 2004).
Corfe and Repetto also have a chance to make history as they enter Sundays game as one of the highest-scoring duos in Ocean City history. With a combined 20 goals (Corfe with 12, Repetto with 8), they are just two behind the record holders Ruben Mingo and Byron Carmichael, who combined for 22 goals (Mingo 12, Carmichael 10) during the club's undefeated 2004 season.
|Highest-scoring duos in Ocean City Nor'easters history|
|2004: Ruben Mingo (12) / Byron Carmichael (10) - 22|
|2005: Ruben Mingo (11) / Tony Donatelli (10) & Byron Carmichael (10) - 21|
|2016: Chevy Walsh (14) / Miguel Jaime (7) - 21|
|2019: Deri Corfe (12) / Claudio Repetto (8) - 20|
Hoffelner has a chance to make some Ocean City history on Sunday. Hoffelner is expected to start, and if that happens, he will be the first player in club history to start every game of the season.
The Nor'easters and the Rough Riders have been playing each other since the two were professional teams. When they first met in 2001, Long Island was an A-League team (Division 2 pro) and the Nor'easters were a D-3 Pro League (Division 3) team known as the South Jersey Barons.
Ocean City is 9-9-4 all-time against the Rough Riders, but the two clubs have met twice in some pretty big games. In the Second Round of the 2005 US Open Cup, the Nor'easters (PDL) upset the Rough Riders, 4-0 when they were a USL Second Division (pro) team, 4-0. In 2009, Ocean City went on the road and knocked off Long Island in the opening round of the PDL playoffs.
After not playing each other during the 2016 or 2017 seasons, they renewed their rivalry last year by splitting the two games they played with the home team winning each game.
Last year, the Rough Riders finished third in the very competitive Mid-Atlantic Division with an 9-4-1 record. They fell just three points short of qualifying for the USL League Two playoffs.