Nervy moments in New York for Ocean City
The Nor’easters found themselves in quite a dilemma on Saturday. Fresh off a tremendous performance at PPL on Tuesday night after the Philadelphia Union in front of over 6,000, they had to quickly rebound to life after the US Open Cup and into the grind of the PDL and the Mid-Atlantic Division. Easier said then done as tonight was proof of just how tough the league can be. As the OC boys locked to remain perfect, the Flames looked to move themselves up in the standings after a 0-2-1 season start.
On a sunny and hot afternoon, the Nor’easters quickly rolled in and managed to make chances quickly on the Flames defense within the 1st 10 seconds of the game as Tony Asante went 1v1 with the GK but couldn’t convert. It was a very offensive performance by both teams and that first chance was just the start. After the miss, the boys quickly deposited 3 goals between the pipes on a sprint out to a 3-0 lead within the 1st 10 min. The first goal came from Atnhony Asante from an Sean McLaws corner. Abe Keller doubled the lead after driblling past 3 Flames defenders and finishing cooly past the goalkeeper. The third goal from this 10 minute burst came as Keller went from scorer to provider as he crossed a free kick for Tyler Hilliard to head home.
This comfortable lead was almost damaging to the match as the boys put the foot on the brakes way to early and started to play poorly as they became undisciplined and all began to want to bag goals for fun. The game changed just as quick as Westchester found themselves down 3-0 and willing to not pack up the ball bags and go home. The Flames found 3 goals themselves which set the stage to 3-3 after 45. Some halftime subs, tactical adjustments, and a few words by the coaching staff at halftime seemed to do the trick as the Nor’easters put together a better 2nd half. Zoncher Dennis found the twine on a breakaway in the middle of the half, but the Flames still chased the match relentless. OC were able to absorb pressure some pressure and Michael O’Keeffe came up big late in the match to preserve the W. Reco McLaren had a chance to put the game out of reach in the 87th min but couldn’t convert a PK.
Coach Tim Oswald spoke in depth after the game "I think the game was a bit of a reality check for our guys. As much as we rested some players to get a better feel for some of our new youth this summer, we have to put a more complete match together on both sides of the ball. Winning the division last year and being in the Open Cup this year was an awesome experience for our kids, but that’s all over at this point and is past history. We have to be able to perform consistently for 90 minutes in this league and continue to find 3 points in matches. When teams can’t close games out, they aren’t very successful in this league and we have to get away from grinding out 1 goal wins consistently."
"The 1st half clearly had to be one of the strangest halves I have ever been involved in at any level in soccer...as a player or a coach. We pride ourselves on converting chances in the final 3rd, which we did, but also being lock tight in the defensive 3rd, which we were not. It’s all to rare to see 6 goals in a half, but even more rare to see a team go up 3-0 only to squander a lead to push the match to 3-3. I give our boys credit for sealing the result, but hopefully, this isn’t a habit. We surely will win alot of games this summer if we put up 4 goals on the board, but we won’t win many if we concede 3 on a daily basis."
"I salute the Flames staff for keeping their boys in the match after our quick start and it goes to show the character of the players that they have. I have seen so many matches when teams start as fast out the gate as we did, that the match just dissolves and is over early, but that was not the case tonight."
"We will go back to the drawing board this week and prepare for 2 well coached teams in Jersey Express and Baltimore Bohemians on the road. Both sides are very good and we expect tremendous matches out of both. As much as our kids are tired from the sheer number of friendlies, training, and matches that we have played in a short amount of time to prepare for Open Cup and the 2013 PDL kickoff of the season, this week is critical to playoff positioning this early in the 2013 campaign. We don’t get results on the road, we will end up chasing the top teams the rest of the season. Let’s hope we can grab a few points and put the pressure on other teams to keep up with us."
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