The Ocean City Nor’easters travel to North Jersey to take on the Jersey Express at NJIT stadium on Friday night before returning to Carey Stadium for their second home game to square off with the Long Island Rough Riders on Sunday night at 6:00 pm.
With losses to Reading United AC and New Jersey Rangers to begin the season, the Nor’easters are still looking for their first win of 2011. They have a difficult task ahead of them this weekend, matching up with two of the top three teams in the division. Ocean City is in dire need of a victory to keep from falling further back of the top teams in the Mid-Atlantic division.
The Jersey Express is in third place in the Mid-Atlantic division with a record of 1-1-0. In their season opener, the Express defeated the West Chester Flames convincingly by a score of 3-0. They were beaten 3-1 on the road by the Long Island Rough Riders in their second match to end their chances of a trip to the U.S. Open Cup.
Being composed of a number of former college and professional players, the Jersey Express is a very experienced team. Many different players have contributed offensively for the Express, who have had four different players score. Andrew Konopelsky, Josh Trott, and Rob Youhill each scored a goal in the 3-0 win over Westchester, and William Stamatis added the lone goal in the 3-1 loss to Long Island. Former MLS player, Jerrod Laventure is leading the team with two assists. The Nor’easters will need to tighten up defensively in order to contain Jersey’s big-named players.
Ocean City is looking to break out of their offensive struggles when they head north on Friday. Jack Bailey (Limestone College, London, England) has notched the only goal for the Nor’easters, who have scored just one goal in their first two games. Although Ocean City has had a number of quality scoring opportunities and shots on goal, the finishing touch has been missing for the Nor’easters through the first two games of the season. Ocean City hopes its luck will change against the Jersey Express as they face one of the top goalkeepers in the league in Ryan Meara (2010 PDL Goalkeeper of the Year). The Nor’easters will look to send numbers into the attack and put pressure on the Express backline that has let up three goals in its first two games of the season. It is only a matter of time before the Nor’easter’s break out of their early season offensive slump.
The Nor’easters will return home on Sunday, May 29 to face the Long Island Rough Riders. Long Island is currently tied for first in the Mid-Atlantic division with Reading United AC. The Rough Riders sit at the top of the standings with a perfect 4-0-0 record. Due to goal differential, Reading United AC won the tiebreaker to qualify for the U.S. Open Cup from the Mid-Atlantic division. The Nor’easters will look to end the Rough Riders’ unbeaten streak with a victory over Long Island on Sunday at Carey Stadium.