Pariano’s late PK saves Nor’easters’ unbeaten streaks in delayed draw vs. Reading United

57th meeting between the two rivals ends in 1-1 draw after nearly two-hour lightning delay at the Beach House

Pariano’s late PK saves Nor’easters’ unbeaten streaks in delayed draw vs. Reading United

With just seconds left in the game, Nick Pariano (Duke / Philadelphia, PA) kept his cool and converted a game-tying penalty kick to give the Ocean City Nor’easters a 1-1 draw against Reading United AC. Saturday night’s rivalry game at Carey Stadium (“The Beach House”) was marred by a nearly two-hour lightning delay in the second half.

The game was scoreless in the 70th minute when lightning brought the game to a halt. When it resumed around 10:30 p.m., it was Reading who broke the deadlock in the 75th minute on a deflected ball that got past Ocean City goalkeeper Stefano Camerlengo (Missouri-KC / Pescara, Italy). Shuma Sasaki, who scored the late equalizer in the June 3 meeting in Reading, was the beneficiary of the deflection in front. Camerlengo dove to his left and nearly got a hand to it but it was out of his reach. For Camerlengo, it was just his fourth goal allowed all season and it snapped his shutout streak at 292 minutes.

However, in stoppage time, a handball by a Reading defender led to a penalty kick that Pariano converted for his second goal of the season and his fourth career goal.

"It was a tough draw," said Pariano. "But considering the conditions in the delay, I was proud that we fought to the end and it’s huge to get a point and keep that undefeated streak going. All eyes will be on Tuesday's game now."

With the draw, Ocean City remains in first place in the Mid-Atlantic Division with a 6-0-3 record, four points ahead of second place West Chester United. This sets the table for the Storm’s next match, a crucial Tuesday night road game against West Chester. Reading finishes in a draw for a league-high sixth time this season and ends the night with a 2-2-6 record, which is good for third place in the division.

The late equalizer not only kept Ocean City from suffering its first loss of the season, but it kept a number of unbeaten streaks that date back multiple seasons. The Nor’easters extend their club record regular season unbeaten streak to 24 games. The team’s last loss came on July 9, 2021 against West Chester United. The Storm’s home unbeaten streak is now at 10 games with the last loss at the Beach House coming in that same July 9, 2021 match.

"Obviously, the circumstances got a little strange, having a two-hour delay," said Nor'easters head coach Matt Perrella. "But despite the circumstances, the guys found a way to get a point and stay undefeated, which is important for accomplishing our goals through the season. So we’re happy about that. But Reading has been stubborn to beat all season so it’s a good result and we move onto the next one still in control of our destiny for the season."

This was the 57th all-time meeting between the long-time rivals, which is not only the oldest active rivalry in USL League Two, but it is the oldest among all USL Championship and USL League One teams.

This is a rivalry that dates back to 1997 when both clubs were professional teams in the USL’s lower divisions. They have met nearly every season since 1997 (they did not play in 2008 and 2009) and Ocean City leads the all-time series 24-22-11. After tonight’s draw, the Nor’easters have an eight-game unbeaten streak (4-0-4) against Reading, the longest unbeaten run in the rivalry since 2007.

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