Ocean City alone in 2nd place with 2-0 win
The Ocean City Barons got back to their winning ways with a 2-0 win over the Northern Virginia Royals on Sunday night. Adam Sternberger and Byron Carmichael each scored in the second half to lead the way. The Barons, who were missing several key players, especially on defense, managed to collect their seventh shutout of the season. Adam Edwards and Kyle Crego, who made his 2007 debut in the second half, each made a save to preserve the clean sheet.
The first half only produced a few chances with Carmichael missing a golden opportunity in the 18th minute. Kyle Evans produced a cross from the left wing that hit Carmichael in stride in front of goal, but the veteran striker failed to convert, pushing the ball wide to the right.
Rob Youhill, who started on the wing, nearly missed on a free kick from about 25 yards out. He tried to curl it to the upper corner and missed the upper 90 by a few feet.
The Barons offense came out in the second half with a little more urgency. Jeremy Ortiz, dribbled his way through the defense and found himself at the top of the "D" where he sent Sternberger through on the left wing. Sternberger fired a shot on goal which took a deflection and found its way to the back of the net to put the Barons up 1-0.
After missing a point blank shot only minutes earlier, Carmichael redeemed himself by finding the target in the 57th minute. Ryan Heins, who started a left back but was later moved into a central midfield role at halftime, fired a low driving shot on goal where Royals’ netminder Steve Weiss made one of his eight saves. However, Weiss wasn’t able to secure the ball and Carmichael pounced on the rebound to give the Barons a two-goal lead.
The goal was Carmichael’s seventh goal in eight matches this year, and his 33rd as an Ocean City Baron. Byron only needs three goals to tie Ruben Mingo’s club record for career goals.
Hofstra’s Billy Pinto made his first start of the season at right back, a brand new position for 20-year old from Audobon, NJ. His performance was worthy of being named the "Man of the Match." The club earned the shutout despite missing their two starting central defenders, Joe Banks and Adam Ennis, who will miss the rest of the season due to personal commitments. The backline was also missing Leon Brown due to injury and Adam Brazitis who was unavailable for the match.
The Barons improve to 7-1-4 (25 points) and are in sole possession of second place in the Mid-Atlantic division. The top two teams from each division qualify for the playoffs. Ocean City only needs to win two of their last four games to clinch at least a share of second place. The Royals drop to 2-10-2 (8 points), and extend their losing streak to seven games.
Next up for Ocean City is their final road game of the season at the Reading Rage on Wednesday night. The game was originally supposed to be played last Thursday, but severe weather forced the match to be postponed. After that, the Barons return home for the final three games of the season, with the Fredericksburg Gunners visiting the Beach House on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. For more information about the Ocean City Barons, visit the club’s official website at www.ocbarons.com.