Nor'easters blank Philly to earn historic undefeated regular season

Alessandro Arlotti's hat trick powers Ocean City to first unbeaten season since 2004

Nor'easters blank Philly to earn historic undefeated regular season

For the first time in nearly two decades the Ocean City Nor’easters are perfect. The team from America’s Greatest Resort Town made history with their win, 4-0, over Philadelphia Lone Star FC on Saturday night. The regular season ends with the team’s record at 11-0-3 and a 15-game unbeaten streak (dating back to 2021).

The Nor'easters become the 26th team in league history to finish the regular season undefeated, and one of four teams to do it in 2022. They join the Des Moines Menace (10-0-2), Lionsbridge FC (12-0-2), and Texas United (9-0-5).

The man of the match was Italian striker Alessandro Arlotti who scored a hat-trick in the second half in just under 13 minutes. Nor'easters head coach Kevin Nuss knows this kind of play is tough for some teams during the waning stretch of a regular season. To see his players come out and perform, some in historical ways, proved to him that the playoffs can’t come fast enough.


“It’s always tough to keep your focus and intensity to play the final matches after clinching the playoffs. Huge credit to the boys for putting away a very tough opponent in Lone Star."

On a cloudy day in south Philadelphia, Ocean City gave almost nothing to the struggling Lone Star squad. The visitors controlled possession for a majority of the first 45 minutes, led in set pieces, and shots on goal. In fact, the only thing the Nor’easters didn’t do in the opening half was actually score.

After the first whistle the ball rarely left the Lone Star end of the field. The visitors' first real look on goal came in the 9th minute after a foul near the Stars’ box. A free kick from the 10 yard line (about 30 yards from goal) sailed over Philly’s defense and off the crossbar.

Three minutes later, Philly responded with a corner kick that was headed away from goal. That was one of the few times goalkeeper Felix Schafer was threatened during the contest.

The name of the game was offense and long passes for the Nor’easters. The Lone Stars struggled this season, sitting second from last in the Mid-Atlantic Division, has been defending. With a -10 goal differential going into Saturday’s game, Nuss and his players understood the home side could be broken down.

That continued to happen and saw a break in the 18th minute when a long pass found an OCN player running up the right side. Breaking past a defender, he quickly passed up to a teammate waiting just in front of the goalie box. His shot sailed over the crossbar for a Philly goal kick. Two more chances in the following 10 minutes included a wide header (21’) and a corner kick that was handed away by the keeper (25’) kept the scoreline at 0-0.

The half ended with Ocean City getting one more look at the net when a series of passes from the right side ended with another header attempt. Again, the ball went over the crossbar with the referee’s whistle blowing right after.

In the second half, the Nor’easters didn’t wait long to start seeing more converted chances. Only two minutes after the break Italian forward Alessandro Arlotti got his team on the board. Starting with a corner kick that got played around the outside, Nick Pariano fed Arlotti on the right side. The forward struck a long shot, about 20 yards out, to the opposite post past the goalkeeper. It was a connection between the only two players that started every game for the Storm this season.

The goal would prove to be the game-winner, Arlotti's seventh game-winning play. Out of his eight goals and six assists on the season, which leads the team in both categories, three of the scores have been the deciding goal in games. Four of his assists to teammates have come on game winners as well.

“Arlotti was special for us when he moved to the opposite side of the field,” coach Nuss said after the match about his forward. “He has come up big again for us when we needed him.”

The Harvard University student was far from done on the night. In the 60th minute, a free kick chance from 30 yards out gave him his second goal of the night. A low shot to the right post snuck past waiting defenders and the goalkeeper, who barely flinched as the ball hit the back of the net.

As the Lone Stars took the ball back from the center of the field, a back pass led to a defensive error on the right side giving Ocean City a run toward the goal line. A cross into the box was kicked away toward Arlotti. The Italian scored, possibly, the goal of the season to complete his hat-trick as he struck the descending ball from 35 yards out. The arcing shot got past the diving keeper on the right side to make it 3-0, electing reactions from even the Philly bench.

Arlotti, who is the first Italian player to score a hat-trick in team history, knows his performance tonight helps the entire team. Not just with the result but ahead with the upcoming postseason.

“It was a really important game for us to finish the season with an undefeated record and keep momentum heading into playoffs,” the forward said after the game. “I am really happy for my hat trick as it helped the team to get the result we wanted. Now the focus is the playoffs next weekend.”

The second fastest hat trick in club history is also the 17th time a Nor’easter player has ever scored a hat-trick in a league game since 2003. Arlotti is also the second player to complete the feat this season after Pablo Marques’ three goals on June 19 (5-2 home win vs. RCNJ).

Less than two minutues later, Arlotti would create a fourth goal.After a turnover in midfield, the Nor'easters sprung loose with the ball chipped ahead in the Lone Star defensive third. The ball was headed to Arlotti about 35 yards from goal and he quickly delivered a through ball to Jeorgio Kocevski at the edge of the penalty area. The Syracuse University player took a couple of touches to free himself up for a right footed blast at the top of the box and he beat the keeper to score his first goal of the season.

When Nuss made a goalkeeper substitution in the 67th minute, Schafer made history. While departing from the game meant he was unable to earn a club record-tying sixth clean sheet (Saturday's result will stand as a "team shutout"), but it assured that he would have his name in the record books elsewhere. With 67 minutes off scoreless soccer, the German keeper broke the single-season club record for goals against average with 0.55. That narrowly edges Pat Hannigan's 0.56 mark set in 2004.

The last kick of the game nearly saw OCN score a fifth. Danish national Kasper Skraep, last year's Nor'easter Award winner, looked to net a goal in the 90th minute but the linesman’s flag was raised up just before the back netting moved. The first official blew his whistle right after, not seeing a need for stoppage time to be played.

Ocean City now heads into the Eastern Conference playoffs as one of the top seeds in the region. More information about Ocean City's opponent and their schedule for next weekend will be announced in the coming days. The only certainty is that the opening weekend's (July 22-24) games will be hosted by the Western Mass Pioneers in Ludlow, Mass. Stay tuned to the Nor'easters website and social media for updates.

For the Nor'easters, they are ready to hit the road for their opening round playoff game. With the win over Philadelphia, Ocean City extended its club record road unbeaten streak to 14 games (dating back to 2019).

“We have had to battle in every single one of our matches,” coach Nuss said. “We are playoff tested and ready to keep fighting our way through the playoffs.”


* With the club's 11th win, that ties the club's 14-game season record set in 2013
* 36 points (11-0-3) sets a new 14-game season club record (Previous record: 34 points in 2013)
* Nine goals allowed is the fewest an Ocean City team has allowed in a single season
* The team goals against average of 0.64 is a new single-season club record
* With the win on Saturday night, it gives Ocean City 165 wins since joining USL League Two in 2003. That leapfrogs rival Reading United AC into 5th place on the league's all-time wins list.
* The win improves Ocean City's all-time record in USL-2 to 165-70-55, which gives them the fourth-best record in USL-2 since 2003 (when OCN joined the league). The win leapfrogs rival Reading United AC who is now in fifth place on that list.

Store Banner

Store Banner