Waite earns third clean sheet of the season as Ocean City's unbeaten streak reaches 15 games
Photo: Matt Ralph | BrotherlyGame.com
The Ocean City Nor'easters were unable to take advantage of a half-hour of playing with a man advantage and had to settle for a scoreless draw on the road against first-place West Chester United on Wednesday night.
After West Chester defender Shane Bradley was shown a second yellow card in the 61st minute, Ocean City found themselves up a man but despite some consistent pressure and near chances, the match finished without a goal.
|Defender Neville Morgan of the Ocean City Nor'easters dribbles the ball against West Chester United on Wednesday, June 17, 2021. Photo: Jack Verdeur|
It was the second consecutive draw for Ocean City who improves to 5-0-3, and extends the club's unbeaten streak to 15 games (dating back to the 2019 season). It also added to the team's unbeaten road streak to five games.
Jahmali Waite (UConn / Philadelphia, PA) replaced Yannik Oettl (Central Florida / Munich, Germany) at the last minute after the 3-time reigning American Athletic Conference Goalkeeper of the Year suffered a minor injury during warm-ups. Waite only had to make two saves to earn his third clean sheet of the season (the fourth shutout by the team this year).
Waite finishes the game with a 0.73 goals against average, which currently is the lowest in Ocean City history. Between Oettl and Waite, the team boasts a 0.75 GAA, which is also the lowest in club history.
When the dust settled on Wednesday night's game, West Chester remains in first place in the Mid-Atlantic Division with a 7-1-2 record (23 points) with Ocean City just five points behind them at 5-0-3. West Chester has just four games remaining in the season, and Ocean City has six.
"Once we started to be patient and play through them we were able to create chances," said Nor'easters head coach Alan McCann. "In the second half, we did everything but score but there's not many teams that will go there [to West Chester, Pa.] and take any points so we'll take the positive from the result despite being disappointed at not finishing chances."
|Defender Neville Morgan of the Ocean City Nor'easters dribbles the ball against West Chester United on Wednesday, June 17, 2021. Photo: Joe Hayburn|
In the 7th minute, the Nor'easters had their best chance of the half with their leading scorer Simon Becher (St. Louis Univ. / Brooklyn, CT) making a run down the left wing. He got to the end line and laid it back off to Tyler Watson (Cumberland / Simi Valley, CA) who fired a shot and forced a save from WCU goalkeeper Dane Jacomen. The rebound came off just enough to allow Theo Quartey (Villanova / Accra, Ghana) to pounce on the loose ball and get a shot off, but the goalkeeper covered.
After West Chester created some chances on the other end, the Nor'easters nearly opened the scoring in the 30th minute. Quartey received a ball on the right wing and dribbled just inside the penalty area and fired a shot that forced a tough save from Jacomen.
Just after halftime, Bakary Bagayoko (Cumberland / Bronx, NY) dribbled his way into the WCU penalty area on the left side. Bagayoko slipped a pass into Becher who was right on the doorstep, but unable to get enough power on the shot with a defender all over him and Jacomen made the save.
Later in the half, some solid ball movement led to Marcel Meinzer (Kentucky / Herxheim, Germany) making a square pass to Kyle Galloway (Rutgers / Manahawkin, NJ) who made a clever fake to free himself up for a shot at the top of the box. Galloway launched a shot which forced a diving save by Jacomen who finished with four saves.
In the 61st minute, Shane Bradley was shown his second yellow after an airel challenge on Becher, which gave Ocean City a man advantage. Becher, who entered the game tied for second in the league with seven goals, was able to continue.
HIGHLIGHTS by Matt Ralph (BrotherlyGame.com)
The Storm put on the pressure for the final 30 minutes, but were unable to capitalize. In fact, West Chester created a couple chances despite playing shorthanded which forced Waite to make a big save down the stretch, but in the end, the defense held and gave Ocean City it's fourth team shutout of the season, which is more than the team earned all of last season (2019).
WCU will play their next three games at home (vs. Reading United AC, Philadelphia Lone Star FC and Northern Virginia FC) before closing out the regular season at the Beach House in Ocean City, N.J. ("America's Greatest Family Resort") on July 9. The game is likely to go a long way in determining the division title.
Next up for the Nor'easters is a friendly against Philadelphia Union 2 on Saturday at the Power Training Complex in Chester, Pa. before returning to league play next Wednesday, June 23 to host Philadelphia Lone Star FC at the Beach House (7 p.m. kickoff). Four of the six remaining games for the Nor'easters are at home. After playing West Chester at home on July 9, they will close out the season on the road against Philadelphia Lone Star FC on July 11.
The top two teams in each division automatically qualify for the USL League Two playoffs, with the best third place team in the Eastern Conference also punching their ticket to the postseason.
FULL MATCH REPLAY (by West Chester United)