OCEAN CITY — The Ocean City Nor’easters men’s soccer team scored twice against powerful Reading United AC on Saturday night, but it was small consolation to O.C.
Reading beat the Nor’easters 4-2 at Carey Stadium and clinched first place in the Mid-Atlantic Division of the United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League. United improved to 11-0-2 in the division for 35 points. Ocean City dropped to 7-5 in the Mid-Atlantic (21 points) and 9-6 overall.
Reading had given up only four goals all season in its previous 12 Mid-Atlantic Division games.
The speedy and talented visitors led 3-2 af halftime and Reading’s Khori Bennett scored his second goal of the game in the 63rd minute. Felipe Hedeki and Daniel Krutzen also scored for United.
Ocean City’s Fredinho Mompremier scored in the eighth minute to tie it at 1-1, and Ignacio Tellechea assisted.
The Nor’easters fell behind 3-1 but O.C.’s Deri Corfe scored off a pass from Alex Rose in first-half stoppage time to make it 3-2. O.C. goalie Todd Morton had five saves, and Reading’s Bennett Strutz made two.
“They (Reading) defend very well, but we had some great chances, one off the post (by Max Hemmings) and ano ther off the crossbar (by Sam Jones),” Ocean City coach John Thompson said.
“They were swinging the ball around in the back (playing defensive), but they had the lead. It’s difficult to catch up. When you’re chasing the game, you make risky passes.”
The loss left Ocean City with only a mathematical chance to make the PDL playoffs. Through Saturday’s games, the New York Red Bulls U23s were 8-2-1 (25 points) and could end up with the PDL Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot. Through Saturday, New York had three division games left, while Ocean City had two.
The Nor’easters host Lehigh Valley United at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Carey Stadium.
In its final Mid-Atlantic game, O.C. hosts the New York Red Bulls U23s at 7 p.m. July 15.
“Now we’ll concentrate on making the (2019) U.S. Open Cup,” Thompson said. “Two wins would give us 27 points, and that would probably be enough to qualify. Last year we made it with 28 (with a PDL mark of 9-4-1).”
Union lose to Atlanta United: Josef Martinez and Hector Villalba each scored to help Atlanta United beat the Philadelphia Union 2-0 on Saturday night in Chester, Pennsylvania.
Brad Guzan had three saves in his sixth shutout of the season for Atlanta (12-4-4).
Martinez scored his MLS-leading 18th goal of the season to give Atlanta a 1-0 lead in the 58th minute, converting from the spot after Philadelphia goalkeeper Andre Blake conceded a penalty in the area drawn by Miguel Almiron.
Villalba put away a cross by Almiron into a wide-open net to cap the scoring in the 76th. Martinez rolled it to Almiron on the left side of the area, and Almiron — as Blake charged — tapped it to Villalba at top of the 6-yard box for the finish.
Philadelphia (6-9-3) has lost four of its last five overall and is winless, including three consecutive losses, in four games with Atlanta all-time.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.