Ocean City will have revenge on their mind after suffering first-ever loss to Lehigh Valley United earlier this season
The Ocean City Nor'easters will wrap up the 2017 Premier Development League (PDL) regular season tonight when they host Lehigh Valley United at Carey Stadium. While the playoffs are just out of reach for the Nor'easters, they will be working hard for a win to build for next season, as a victory could ultimately put them into the 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tickets are available at the Carey Stadium main entrance for $10 each with children five and under getting in free.
The format for the 2018 U.S. Open Cup has yet to be released, but if the format remains the same from the 2017 competition, then the top 21 teams in the PDL would qualify for next year's competition. The Nor'easters have clinched third place in the Mid-Atlantic Division and enter Wednesday's contest with an 8-4-1 record and 25 points. Entering Wednesday's action, the Nor'easters are tied with four other teams for the 15th best record in the PDL, leaving them well within the Top 21. A win tonight would give them 28 points and would clinch at least the 17th best record in the league.
The Nor'easters enter the game riding an eight-game home unbeaten streak, the longest run in more than a decade. In Ocean City's last game, they finished tied 1-1 with the division-leading New York Red Bulls Under-23s last Sunday at the Beach House. Ismael Noumansana (Bamako, Mali / Lenoir-Rhyne) scored a 75th minute equalizer to earn a point against one of the highest-scoring teams in the PDL.
Noumansana is the second leading scorer for the Nor'easters with three goals and four assists (10 points) behind Fredlin "Fredinho" Mompremier (Limbe, Haiti / Fairleigh Dickinson) who is on top of the scoring list with seven goals and one assist (15 points). Todd Morton (West Chester, PA / Delaware) established himself as the team's No. 1 goalkeeper with a 5-3-1 record, a 1.00 goals against average a three shutouts.
Back on June 14, Lehigh Valley scored two goals early in the second half and held off a late push by Ocean City to win their first-ever game against the Nor'easters, 2-1. After dropping the game at Lehigh Valley, Ocean City will look for revenge at the Beach House tonight.
"We are looking forward to our re-match against Lehigh Valley United," said Nor'easters head coach John Thompson. "We put on a disappointing performance at their place where nothing went right for us and none of the lads had a good game, so we are looking to make it right at the Beach House."
LVU currently sit in fourth place in the Mid-Atlantic Division with a 4-7-1 record. Last Sunday, they dropped a 2-1 decision to FA Euro New York. They have lost five of their last six games. Mark Forrest leads the team in scoring with three goals. It's anyone's guess as to who will start tonight for United as Ben Sauer and Cameron Keys have split time in goal for Lehigh Valley having played in five games each. Sauer has the best goals against average with a 0.67 mark.
Ocean City and LVU have been playing each other twice per season since 2015 when United joined the PDL from the National Premier Soccer League. They were a dominant team in the NPSL, winning the league championship in 2012 and reaching the NPSL semifinals twice (2010, 2013). Ocean City leads the all-time series 4-1-0.
Fans unable to make it out to the Beach House this weekend can follow all the action live on the Nor'easters Twitter account and can also listen to the game on 91.7FM WLFR. To listen to the game, click here, then select "Listen Live" and follow the instructions. Fans can also listen to the game at home on their Roku streaming device or on any mobile device by downloading the "Shoutcast" app or the "Tunein" app and search for WLFR.