Preview: Nor'easters try to stay unbeaten, on the road at Northern Virginia FC

Winner of Saturday night's game will take sole possession of second place in Mid-Atlantic Division

Preview: Nor'easters try to stay unbeaten, on the road at Northern Virginia FC

The Ocean City Nor'easters head back out on the road on Saturday night to take on Northern Virginia FC. It will be a key early season battle that could have an impact on the battle for the playoffs later on in the season. The winner of Saturday night's game will take sole possession of second place in the Mid-Atlantic Division as they try to close the gap on first place West Chester United.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Evergreen Sportsplex in Leesburg, Va. For fans unable to make the trip to the game, there will be a live stream available by NVFC. The Nor'easters will also be providing live updates during the game on the team's Twitter account (@OCNoreasters)

The Nor'easters enter Saturday night's match undefeated (3-0-1) after last Wednesday's scoreless draw with long-time rival Reading United AC. The Ocean City defense shut down the Reading offense, with goalkeeper Jahmali Waite (UConn / Philadelphia, PA) earning a clean sheet without having to make a single save. It was the third shutout by the Nor'easters in their first four games.

The Storm will bring an 11-game unbeaten streak to Virginia, the second-longest run without a loss in club history. Ocean CIty also sports the second-best scoring margin (+11) in the league.

Another positive to the Storm's offense in the early season has been the balanced attack. The 12 goals scored have been scored by eight different players. Simon Becher leads the team in scoring with three, which he scored in an historic performance against Lehigh Valley United on May 19. Becher made history three ways. He became the 12th Ocean City player (in the club's USL League Two history) to score a hat trick. Then, he became the first Nor'easters player to come off the bench and score a hat trick. Becher scored those goals in the 75th, 80th and 85th minutes, which is the fastest hat trick in club history. Cumberland University teammates Bakary Bagayoko and Tyler Watson have two goals each and no one else has more than one goal.

Theo Quartey has one of those goals, a fantastic game-winner in the Storm's 2-1 home win against first place West Chester United. Quartey also leads the team in assists with three.

The last time the Nor'easters played Northern Virginia FC was in 2019 when they were known as Evergreen FC. Ocean City has been playing NVFC since their days when they were known as the Northern Virginia Royals in the mid 2000s. The Nor'easters first met them (as the Royals) in 2004, and despite the Royals being a pro team, Ocean City defeated them, 3-1. From that day, the Nor'easters began their all-time unbeaten streak against Evergreen FC which is currently at 16 games (14-0-2). In 2019, after Ocean City beat the Hammers in the team's home opener at the Beach House on a late goal by Ilias Kosmidis, the Storm's unbeaten streak nearly came to an end. A little more than a month later, Claudio Repetto's 90th minute penalty kick denied Evergreen their first win over Ocean City, and saved a point (and the unbeaten streak) for the Nor'easters with a 2-2 draw.

NVFC is off to the club's best start in years with a 4-1-0 record and are seeking the club's first playoff berth since 2011. They surpassed their win total from last two seasons (2019) in the first two games with victories over Philadelphia Lone Star FC (3-2) and Reading United AC (2-1). After dropping a 3-2 decision at home to first place West Chester United, Northern Virginia bounced back with back-to-back 2-1 wins over Lehigh Valley United and Real Central New Jersey.

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MORE: Nor'easters assemble elite group of forwards for 2021 season

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