Jahmali Waite earns second clean sheet as Ocean City extends home unbeaten streak to 11 games
Photo: Jack Verdeur (IG: @jack_verdeur)
The Ocean City Nor'easters remained unbeaten on the 2021 USL League Two season with a scoreless draw against long-time rival Reading United AC on Wednesday night in Ocean City, N.J., America's Greatest Family Resort. (FULL MATCH VIDEO BELOW)
The Nor'easters defense managed to shut down the Reading offense, which only managed to attempt one shot, and it wasn't on frame. Jahmali Waite (UConn / Philadelphia, PA) didn't have to make a single save to earn his second shutout of the season. The Storm defense have posted a clean sheet in three of the first four games of the season, and have only allowed one goal.
This marks just the fourth time in the Nor'easters' 24 seasons that the club has allowed just one goal in the first four games of a season (2007, 2009, 2012).
The Nor'easters held the majority off the possession in the first half but were unable to create any quality scoring chances. Reading goalkeeper Carson Williams only had to make one save.
"We were poor in the first half and played directly into what they were trying to do," said Nor'easters head coach Alan McCann. "It wasn't until the 35th or the 40th minute mark that we started to solve it. In the second half, we were much better at breaking them down but in the final third, we didn't create many clear cut chances."
Jahmali Waite of the Ocean City Nor'easters leaps to grab a loose ball against Reading United AC on June 2, 2021. Waite earned his second clean sheet of the season. Photo: Jack Verdeur (IG: @jack_verdeur)
The second half was much of the same with Ocean City pushing the agenda, but the journeys into the Reading defensive third would fizzle out. Meanwhile, the Nor'easters defense continued to shut down United's offense led by college teammates Nick Akoto (Tennessee Wesleyan / London, England) and Montel McKenzie (Tennessee Wesleyan / London, England) on the wings and Josh Thacker (Old Dominion / Hull, England) making his Ocean City debut and played 90 minutes at center back.
With the draw in front of their home fans at Carey Stadium ("The Beach House"), Ocean City (3-0-1) extends the club's overall and home unbeaten streak to 11 games dating back to the 2019 season. This is the second longest home unbeaten streak in club history.
It was the 51st meeting between the two clubs, the oldest active rivalry in the entire United Soccer Leagues, dating back to 1997. It was the first scoreless draw between the two rivals since 2004. With the draw, Reading maintain a slight edge in the all-time series, 22-21-8. The two teams will play again at Reading on July 6.
For Alan McCann, facing a club that he spent four years coaching, two of them as head coach where he won USL League Two Coach of the Year, was something that he took in stride.
"It was nice to see the people that we have great relationships with but apart from that it was just another game from our side and that's how we approached it," said McCann, who helped Reading reach the league championship game in 2018 and 2019.
Combined with the Northern Virginia FC edging Real Central New Jersey 2-1 on Wednesday night, the Nor'easters dropped to third place in the Mid-Atlantic Division. Ocean City will have a chance to reclaim second place when they travel to Virginia to take on NVFC (4-1-0) on Saturday night. The Storm have played one fewer game than Northern Virginia and three fewer games than first place West Chester United (5-1-1).
The next home game at the Beach House for Ocean City is June 13 when they host Northern Virginia FC. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tickets are on sale now.