The Ottawa Fury men's soccer team scored early and held on to beat the Ocean City Nor'easters 1-0 on Saturday in a United Soccer League's Premier Development League Eastern Conference semifinal game in Greensboro, N.C.
Ottawa's Eddie Campbell scored the only goal of the game in the sixth minute of play, and it held up despite several good chances by Ocean City.
Ottawa advanced to the conference final against either the host Carolina Dynamo or Reading United AC at 6 p.m. today.
"We couldn't get a goal," Ocean City's Markhus Lacroix said in a phone interview. "They scored early and then kind of packed (the defense). It was frustrating. It was difficult to break down, and we didn't capitalize on the chances we did have."
Campbell took a pass from teammate Anthony DiBiase in the sixth minute and scored in front on a shot that deflected off defender Tapiwa Machin-gauta and got past goalie John McCarthy.
McCarthy had one save and Ottawa's Nils Carlson recorded the shutout with four saves.
It wasn't the beginning of the playoff rivalry between the franchises. The Nor'easters, then called the Ocean City Barons, beat the Fury 2-1 in extra time in the 2009 PDL playoffs.
Ocean City which was 2-6-8 in 2011, brought in coach Tim Oswald and several new players this year. The Nor'easters went 13-3 and won the PDL's Eastern Conference Mid-Atlantic Division. Ocean City drew a bye into the Eastern Conference semifinals with the conference's best record.
"We had a lot of chances to get the result," Oswald said. "We didn't score, but any time you chase the game (play from behind) that can happen.
"We can't lose sight of what we accomplished. We won the division and the conference, and that should make them hungry for next year. Most of our guys are young and will come back,
With the score 1-0 in the first half, Carlson stopped a shot by Lacroix on a 1-on-1 situation near the net.
"I got too close to him and dove to my left and made the save," said Lacroix, an 18-year-old who plays for the University of Pennsylvania.
The Nor'easters put a lot of offensive pressure on in the second half. Ocean City's Terry Gibbs fired a shot on a free kick in the first 10 minutes after intermission, and Carlson made the stop.
"I went left and he caught it in his hands. Otherwise it was there," said Gibbs, 24, of London.
Carlson also made a save on Emmanuel Kollie in the 72nd minute.
"Anytime you're chasing the game, you have to commit your numbers forward to get a goal," Oswald said. "We did a good job of stepping up the pressure."
Both Lacroix and Gibbs said they intend to return to the team next year.
"It was a pretty tough loss, but we played well," Gibbs said. "It was 100 degrees out there, really hot. It was tough to come back after the early goal. But you have to look at the positives. It was a very good season."
Ottawa 1 0-1
Ocean City 0 0-0
Goalies-Carlson (4) O. McCarthy (1) OC.
Records-Ottawa 12-3-3; O.C. 13-4.