West Chester United’s inaugural season in USL League Two could go from good to great Wednesday night when they host Ocean City Nor’easters.
The Predators currently top the Mid-Atlantic Division with a 7-1-1 record but they’ll likely need a win over Ocean City to put themselves in position to earn the automatic playoff bid that comes with a first place finish.
The Nor’easters are five points behind West Chester in the standings but they have two games in hand and are one of only two unbeaten teams left (Long Island Rough Riders) in the Eastern Conference. The top second-place finisher in the conference gets a playoff berth.
Both teams, which checked in at No. 4 (Ocean City) and No. 9 (West Chester) in the league’s power rankings last week, have been prolific on offense and stingy in the back. West Chester has a +18 goal differential to Ocean City’s +13.
The key for West Chester has been their experienced core at the back in Penn goalkeeper Dane Jacomen and former Villanova center backs Luca Mellor and Shane Bradley. The trio has played together about 30 times over the past year in various competitions. Offensively, Drexel star forward Chris Donovan leads the team with five goals and Troy Amspacher and Leon Maric have each chipped in four. Maric is also among the national leaders in assists with three.
Ocean City is led offensively by in-form striker Simon Becher, who is second nationally with seven goals in five games. Union Academy grad Jahmali Waite and Yannik Oettl have each done well in goal, boasting sub 1.00 goals against averages.
Though head coach Alan McCann, who led Reading United to back-to-back league finals, has recruited talent from around the country he also has a number of familiar names on his roster with local ties. Villanova standout Theo Quartey, former Elizabethtown star Gilbert Waso and Union Academy grads Nick Blacklock, MD Myers and Jackson Temple have all logged minutes.
As a team, Ocean City is off to their best start since 2007 and is now unbeaten in 14 straight dating back to the 2019 season.
West Chester should be better rested than when the teams first met earlier this season. Ocean City came from behind to win 2-1 at the Beach House that day, but West Chester was also on their second game of the day after winning the Region 1 National Amateur Cup semifinal back home earlier that afternoon.
How to Watch
Where: Kildare’s Turf Field, 601 Westtown Road, West Chester, PA
When: 7:30 p.m.
Streaming: Eleven Sports