Photo: Paul Rudderow
There has been a lot of talk about the Philadelphia Union’s third-round US Open Cup opponent, the Ocean City Nor’easters.
First they made headlines with their second round upset win over USL-PRO side Pittsburgh Riverhounds. They made further news with their protest to US Soccer in their desire to host the Union in the third round at Ocean City High School’s Carey Stadium, their home ground.
While there is certainly fan crossover, judging by the amount of Union gear one will see in the stands at a Nor’easter games, Union supporters may want to know a bit more about this Jersey Shore side.
A little history
Originally know as the very South Jersey name of the Barons, the team started life in 1996, becoming the Nor’easters after the 2009 season. They ply their trade in the USL-PDL, in the Mid Atlantic Division with Union affiliate team, Reading United. The win over Pittsburgh was their fifth over a professional team in Open Cup play, with previous victories over USL-2 clubs Long Island Rough Riders (2005), Crystal Palace Baltimore (2007, 2009), and Real Maryland Monarchs (2009). Tuesday’s third round match at PPL park will be Ocean City’s second appearance against a MLS club, having previously lost to DC United 2-0 in the third round in 2009. Several players have recently gone on to pro level career’s, including La Salle grad and Union draftee Ryan Richter (Toronto FC) and Ryan Finley (Columbus Crew).
Ocean City play a very pleasing and attractive style of soccer. Current Rutgers-Camden Men’s Coach Tim Oswald has his team play a 4–3–3 formation, with strong wing play meant to spread opponent’s defenses. His team did this with ease in the 2-0 win over New York Red Bulls U-23s in the first round, but was less successful against the more physically imposing Riverhounds in the second.
Players to watch
Frank Tweneboa is a stand out player for the Nor’easters. He plays in a withdrawn position either as a second striker or attacking mid. He is mercurial in his play, moving through the middle, or popping up on either flank, trying to get his teammates involved in the attack.
Fans of Penn Quaker soccer will know Marcus “Duke” Lacriox. An out-and-out wide player, Lacroix loves to use pace to get behind. He scored against New York in the first round.
Ken Tribbet is another local college player at holding midfield. The Drexel Dragon bagged the historic game-winner against Pittsburgh. Before that, he had his hands full tracking the Riverhounds’ midfielders.
Ocean City have two strong options goalkeeper options in Keasel Broome and Brian Billings. Broome shutout New York, but had very little to do. Billings had a much busier match against Pittsburgh, shrugging off a shaky first 15 minutes and came up with a massive save in injury time to ensure the win.
Special mention should go to fullback Kevin Curran. A recent grad from Loyola, he played his high school ball at Carey Stadium.
The Union are heavy favorites against this team from the fourth tier of US soccer. But, Ocean City has style and will likely go out there trying to play their game at PPL Park. They will work hard and entertain.
And if you find yourself walking the boards on a balmy evening down in Ocean City one night this summer, check out the Nor’easters. It’ll be a good time.