Borja Barbero makes four saves to earn his first Ocean City clean sheet
The Nor'easters earned three hard fought points against FA Euro
By: Christian Candeloro
The Ocean City Nor’easters powered past FA Euro, winning 1-0 on a late goal by midfielder Alex Ridsdale. The goal and win was the culmination of a hard fought game that the Nor’easters pulled out thanks to the clutch play of the Nor’easters’ stars.
Alex Ridsdale takes on a defender in a game against NY Red Bull U23
Photo Credit: Ryan Hart
Despite only playing 16 minutes, Ridsdale made his impact felt in the late stages. The midfielder was a sub in the 74th minute for midfielder Matthew Vasquenza.
The game-winning goal came in the 78th minute, with Ridsdale burying a cross from defender Julien Aoyama past FA Euro goalkeeper Thomas Zehner to put the Nor’easters in front.
FA Euro had a couple opportunities to equalize it in the final minutes but both times, once on a corner kick and once on a free kick, the Nor’easters were able to clear the ball away to keep the lead intact.
As the minutes climbed into the 70s, it felt inevitable that one of the teams would score. The first and second half had been filled with opportunities that had either just gone wide or the two goaltenders had come up big with clutch saves.
The first opportunity of the game came in the third minute, with Ocean City forward Khesanio Hall emerging all alone in front of the goaltender but chipping the ball just over the net.
Again in the sixth minute, Nor’easters forward Pau Delgado Rodriguez blasted a shot from the top of the box but Zehner swallowed it to keep the game scoreless.
After FA Euro’s chances were cleared by the Ocean City backline, Hall nearly put Ocean City up 1-0 in the 20th minute, but his shot flew just over the crossbar again to keep the game scoreless.
Throughout the first half, Hall and Vasquenza continued to pester the FA Euro backline, using their speed and athleticism to create opportunities for the Nor’easters’ offensive attack.
In the 41st minute, Ocean City goaltender Borja Barbero got involved in the action. The FA Euro attack threatened him with a rifling shot at the net that Barbero made a beautiful save on to keep the Nor’easters and FA Euro knotted up heading into halftime.
The beginning minutes of the second half belonged to the keepers, who made saves and alert plays to neutralize opportunities for both teams.
Vasquenza, forward John Manga, and Delgado Rodriguez all sent shots at Zehner. All were turned away. The Nor’easters couldn’t solve Zehner and FA Euro couldn’t solve Barbero.
Enter Nor’easters head coach Tim Oswald, who made the substitutions that would ultimately win the Nor’easters the game.
Although Vasquenza’s speed was giving FA Euro fits, Oswald subbed in Ridsdale, a player who has scored his fair share of goals for the Nor’easters this season.
In total the Nor’easters blasted 12 shots at Zehner and FA Euro sent 9 shots at Barbero. Both goaltenders made four saves.
It was of course the one shot that Zehner didn’t save that made all the difference on Saturday night. You can watch the full match replay here.
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