The Ocean City Nor'easters soccer team will travel to Austin, Texas, on Thursday for this weekend's United Soccer Leagues' Premier Development League semifinals.

Ocean City will meet the host Austin Aztex at 8:30 p.m. EDT Friday at House Park. The other semifinal, between Thunder Bay Chill, of Thunder Bay, Ontario, and Victoria Highlanders FC, of Victoria, British Columbia, will be played at 3:30 p.m. EDT Friday. The difference in time between the games is to avoid the late-afternoon heat.

The PDL championship game will be played Sunday at House Park. The PDL has 67 teams in the U.S. and in Canada.

"We're really excited, and it's a great honor to be in the Final Four," Nor'easters general manager Neil Holloway said Monday. "It's exciting to be two wins away from a national championship."

The Nor'easters beat the Ottawa Fury 3-1 Sunday in Ocean City for the PDL's Eastern Conference championship and to reach the semifinals for the first time in program history. Dwayne Reid, Frank Tweneboa and Max Tassano scored as O.C. took a 3-0 lead in the first half. Oceam City improved to 15-3-1 overall and 13-2-1 in the PDL. Ocean City, then known as the Barons, joined the league in 2003.

"Our goals at the beginning of the year were to have a good (Lamar Hunt U.S.) Open Cup, and we did that by playing the Philadelphia Union, and to win the Eastern Conference," Holloway said.

The Nor'easters lost to the Union, of Major League Soccer, 2-1 in extra time on May 28 in Chester, Pa., in the third round of the Open Cup.

Ocean City will practice today and Wednesday, and fly out of Philadelphia to Austin on Thursday.

The Aztex, 14-2-2 overall and 13-1-2 in the PDL, beat the visiting Laredo Heat 2-0 Saturday at House Park in the PDL Southern Conference championship game. The announced attendance was a franchise-record 2,673.

The Victoria Higlanders FC (10-2-4 in the PDL) beat the Portland Timbers U-23 1-0 Sunday for the Western Conference title. Thunder Bay Chill (14-1-1 in the league) blanked defending PDL champion Forest City London, of Ontario, 3-0 on Sunday for the Central Conference crown.

Contact Guy Gargan:

609-272-7210