Ocean City hosts Lone Star for the second time, looking to gain ground on first place
For the second time this season, the Ocean City Nor'easters will host the Philadelphia Lone Star FC tonight at Carey Stadium ("The Beach House") in Ocean City, N.J., America's Greatest Family Resort.
It's a huge matchup for both teams as Ocean City enters the game unbeaten (5-0-3) and riding a 15-game unbeaten streak, while attempting to gain ground on first-place West Chester United (who host Reading United AC tonight). Lone Star FC need a win to leap frog Northern Virginia FC into third place and keep their playoff hopes alive in their inaugural USL League Two season.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. General admission tickets are $10 each and can be purchased in advance on the Nor'easters website, and at the Carey Stadium gate with cash or with a smartphone. Soccer coaches of all levels and players from the South Jersey Elite Barons and New Jersey Surf all get in free.
For fans unable to make it out to the Beach House, the Nor'easters are partnering with BFA Productions to provide a live video stream of all home games for the 2021 season. Local broadcast veteran Mike Frankel will handle the play-by-play duties. A link to the online broadcast will be posted on the Nor'easters social media accounts (NOTE: Do not click on any live stream links that are not posted by the Ocean City Nor'easters, USL League Two or Philadelphia Lone Star FC. There are online spam accounts that post fake links on social media)
The Nor'easters are hosting Philadelphia in the first of three straight home games over the next two weeks as the club heads into the second half of the league schedule.
In their last leaugue game, the Storm earned a scoreless draw on the road against first place West Chester United last Wednesday (June 16). Ocean City was unable to capitalize on a second half red card and getting to play with a man advantage for the final 30 minutes of the match. Jahmali Waite (UConn / Philadelphia, PA) picked up his team-leading third clean sheet of the season.
In between league games, the Nor'easters traveled to Chester, Pa. to take on Philadelphia Union 2. After falling behind early, Ocean City scored a pair of second half goals, including a late game-winner to give the club a 2-1 win this past Saturday night. The Nor'easters remain unbeaten in their last six in-season exhibition games, dating back to the 2018 season.
Tal Segev (NC State / Rishon LeZion, Israel) converted a penalty kick midway through the second half, followed by a goal by Akeim Clarke (North Carolina / Windsor, CT) with about 10 minutes left in the contest. For Clarke, his game-winning goal came on a long ball over the top by Alex Andersson (Colorado - Colorado Springs / Helsingborg, Sweden). Both players were making their first appearances for the Nor'easters.
Owen Elliott (Penn State / Philadelphia, PA) started the match in goal for the Nor'easters and played well despite giving up the lone goal. Elliott was replaced by Michael Webber (Bowdoin College / Natick, MA) early in the second half and he kept the Union off the scoresheet to secure the win.
The Nor'easters not only enter the game riding a 15-game unbeaten streak dating back to the 2019 season, but they also boast a 13-game home unbeaten streak. Both are the second longest streaks in club history.
The Storm's leading scorer is Simon Becher (St. Louis Univ. / Brooklyn, CT) with seven goals, which is tied for the second-most in USL League Two. Theo Quartey (Villanova / Accra, Ghana) is second on the team in scoring with two goals and four assists. His four assists is tied for second-most in the league.
This is the second meeting of the season between the Nor'easters and Lone Star FC. On June 9, Philadelphia was supposed to host Ocean City, but scheduling issues with the Lone Star's home venue forced the game to be moved to Carey Stadium. The Storm won 2-1 with Segev and Becher each scoring for Ocean City to overcome a first half goal by Philadelphia's Zoncher Dennis, who is the Nor'easters' fifth all-time leading scorer.
The Philadelphia Lone Star were supposed to join USL League Two as an expansion team in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed their debut until 2021. But this won't be the first time they have played against the Nor'easters. The first time they met was in the 2017 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup when Ocean City blanked Lone Star FC (back when they were under the name "Junior Lone Star FC"), 3-1 in the First Round of the tournament. The two teams met again toward the end of the 2019 season in an exhibition game when Lone Star was a member of the NPSL. The game finished in a 1-1 draw with league MVP Deri Corfe scoring the lone goal and Philadelphia's only tally was an Ocean City own goal.
Lone Star has been a club since 2001, playing in various Philadelphia area leagues before joining the NPSL where they remained until this past season.
Philadelphia enters Wednesday's game with a 4-5-0 record, but they are still within striking distance of a possible playoff spot. The top two teams in the division qualify for the postseason with the best third place team in the Eastern Conference also punching their ticket. A win on Wednesday could send them as high as third place in the division standings.
Lone Star FC feaures a balanced attack on offense. Out of the team's 13 goals, no player has more than two goals with four different players tied for the team lead (Daniel Bloyou, Patrick Singbah, Zoncher Dennis, Forster Ajago). Abdul Kooistra leads the team with four assists, which is tied for second in the league.
The Nor'easters will be following the state's COVID-19 protocols to ensure the safety of everyone attending Sunday's game and throughout the entire season. The state of New Jersey does not have a capacity limit for venues like Carey Stadium at this time, and fans are not required to wear masks in an outdoor setting, but anyone who is not vaccinated is encouraged to wear a mask in any indoor setting such as bathrooms. For more information on the New Jersey Department of Health's guidance, please click HERE.