Ryan Becher's brace paces Nor'easters to 4-1 win vs. Lehigh Valley United at Beach House

Ocean City extends regular season unbeaten streak to 21 games as Nor'easters remain atop Mid-Atlantic Division

Ryan Becher's brace paces Nor'easters to 4-1 win vs. Lehigh Valley United at Beach House

A first half brace from Ryan Becher (UCLA / Hummelstown, PA) and a pair of late goals led the Ocean City Nor’easters to a 4-1 home win over Lehigh Valley United. An own goal created by a run by Galen Flynn (St. Louis Univ. / West Hartford, CT) and goal by Leonardo D’Ambrosio (College of Charleston / Turin, Italy) in a three minute span helped the Storm pull away on Saturday night at Carey Stadium (“The Beach House”) in Ocean City, N.J., America’s Greatest Family Resort.

With the win, Ocean City remains in first place in the Mid-Atlantic Division with a 5-0-1 record. Lehigh Valley drops to 0-6-2 on the campaign.

The victory also extends the Nor’easters’ club record regular season unbeaten streak to 21. The team’s last loss came on July 9, 2021 at home against West Chester United. Ocean City also extends its home unbeaten streak to nine games.


Stefano Camerlengo (Missouri-KC / Pescara, Italy) played the full 90 minutes in goal for the Nor’easters, improving his personal record to 4-0-1.

“So overall it’s a massive three points coming off a 2-0 win against West Chester,” said Nor'easters head coach Matt Perrella. “It’s our second home game so it’s important to win in front of the home fans so we definitely feel good about that. The other thing is, with the condensed schedule every game is going to be a challenge. There’s no easy opponents, no easy points to win. And we’re happy about that, we’ll take it. We’ll roll into an off day and get ready for Wednesday against Real [Central New Jersey].”

The first two goals of the game were a product of a Brad Dildy (Univ. of Charlotte / San Antonio, TX) to Ryan Becher connection. In the 14th minute, Ocean City shifted the point of attack from the right wing to the left. Dildy received the ball about 30 yards from goal. He took a touch and curled a perfect ball to the front of the goal and Becher volleyed it into the back of the net right at the edge of the six-yard box in front of a frozen goalkeeper. It was the sixth game in a row where the Nor’easters had scored the first goal of the contest.

The second goal came in the 30th minute when Maruki Kawahara chipped a ball ahead down the left wing to Dildy. He controlled the ball and sent a pass to Nick Pariano (Duke / Philadelphia, PA) in the box who played a nice wall pass back to Dildy who made a run into left side of the box near the end line. As he approached the end line, he immediately centered a ball along the ground where Becher was making another run at the goal mouth. He redirected it into the back of the goal for his second goal of the half and his third goal of the season.

Photo: Jack Verdeur
Alessandro Arlotti (left) and Galen Flynn of the Ocean City Nor'easters celebrate after a goal against Lehigh Valley United at Carey Stadium ("The Beach House") in Ocean City, NJ on June 10, 2023

“It was a great game tonight, it’s always good to be at home and have the fans behind us and get goals early and often and put a team away,” said Becher. “Brad [Dildy] and I have connected on three goals in the last two games. It’s been good, Brad and I have a good connection off the field, we actually work together, which is fun. Maybe that translates to the field, who knows? But, for me, it could have been anyone in that position tonight. The team puts trust in me to go in there and score goals and I gotta do my job and at the end of the day, that’s what I did. And hopefully I can keep doing that as we move forward.”

After taking a 2-0 lead into the halftime break, the old saying that the goalpost is a goalkeeper’s best friend was proven wrong. Lehigh Valley were advancing into the Nor’easters’ defensive third and Steven Riad received a pass in the middle of the field. The hometown kid, who played his college ball at Florida International University, took a touch to his left and fired a low shot on goal from about 25 yards out. Camerlengo dove to his right and got a hand to it but it got past him, deflected off the goalpost and ended up in the back of the net.

United continued to knock on the door, looking for the equalizer as they tried to earn a point at the Beach House for the first time in club history. But the Ocean City defense, which has only allowed three goals all season, held strong for the remainder of the game, led by USL League Two Team of the Month selection Jan Riecke (Harvard / Berlin, Germany).

The 84th minute featured a busy 30 seconds for the Nor’easters offense. Jack Sarkos (UCLA / Margate City, NJ) gave chase to a long ball that was out of reach ahead of him, running alongside an LVU defender. Goalkeeper Lane McGrane came out to clear the ball with his feet and blasted the ball upfield but it struck his own defender and the ball deflected and rolled back toward the goal. McGrane helplessly chased the ball and watched as it rolled up against the goalpost. Perhaps the goalpost is the goalkeeper’s best friend after all?

McGrane immediately played the ball up the field as United pushed for an equalizer. Ocean City won the ball cleanly near midfield and controlled by Flynn. Last year’s Creative Player of the Year played the ball on the ground to last year’s team MVP Alessandro Arlotti (Harvard / San Remo, Italy), who returned the ball to Flynn on an overlapping run down the right wing, in behind United’s last defender, Dylan Maund. Flynn was on a breakaway, but rather than taking the shot himself, he unselfishly played the ball across to a wide open Sarkos, but Maund, was able to recover just in time to deflect the pass away from Sarkos. Unfortunately for Maund, he deflected it into the back of his own net to give Ocean City a 3-1 lead.

In the 86th minute, the Nor’easters put the game away due to an impressive individual effort by Leonardo D’Ambrosio. The College of Charleston, who had come on as a sub to replace Kyle Galloway (Marist / Manahawkin, NJ) in the 66th minute product received a pass at midfield and made a nice spinning move to avoid a challenge and played the ball up to Sarkos. Sarkos then played a wall pass to D’Ambrosio on an overlapping run down the right wing (just like Ocean City’s last goal two minutes earlier). Lehigh Valley’s Maund was the victim again as D’Ambrosio made a move to avoid a tackle from him and was in on a breakaway near the end line. McGrane leaned to the far post and D’Ambrosio hit inside the near post to score his first goal in an Ocean City uniform.

The Nor’easters improves to 15-2-0 all-time against Lehigh Valley, winning the seventh straight meeting with United. Ocean City also improved to 8-0-0 all-time against LVU at the Beach House.

Next up for Ocean City, they will return to Rider University in Lawrence Township, N.J. on Wednesday to take on Real Central New Jersey. It will be a rematch from the season opener on May 20 that the Storm won 1-0. The next home game for the Nor’easters will take place on Saturday, June 24 when they host long-time rival Reading United AC. Fans can buy tickets online HERE.

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