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Ocean City Nor’easters continue perfect season with dominant home win over Lehigh Valley



Ocean City returned home on Friday in USL League Two play looking to extend their winning streak to seven consecutive matches. With six wins from six and an impressive +15 goal differential, the hosts were heavily favored to defeat a struggling Lehigh Valley United Rush, who had yet to pick up a point through six matches.

An impressive crowd of 950 gathered to watch the red-hot Nor’Easters on a beautiful night at Carey Stadium, just a few hundred yards away from the Atlantic Ocean. Ocean City came out dominating possession and immediately forced Lehigh Valley Goalkeeper, Matthew Link into a world-class save to deny Alberto Cruz on the doorstep. However, Cruz would get his revenge in just the tenth minute, tapping in a beautiful cross from Jansen Miller at the back post to open the scoring. The Nor’Easters carried this momentum into another immediate attack, where Defender Jansen Miller put the ball on a platter for Colin Veltri, notching his second assist in four minutes. Veltri fired past Link with the help of both posts, making it 2-0 after just 13 minutes.

A few missed opportunities and solid stops from Link sent the match into halftime with the same 2-0 scoreline, as Lehigh Valley failed to connect any real threatening passes, and failed to test Ocean City’s defense much at all in the first half. At the break, it looked as though this one could get out of hand very quickly if Lehigh Valley was unable to drastically change the trajectory of the match.

However, the visitors came out strong in the second half, with continued link-up play between Wilson Bibiano and Eddy Enwobi down the right flank leading to a couple of set-pieces and half-chances. Lehigh Valley also came out much more aggressive in the second half, playing much more physically, and even earning a few yellow cards to show for it. Despite these efforts, Ocean City added to their lead in the 66th Minute, as a loose ball bounced around in the box before Colin Veltri found Jalen Anderson to tap in the third. It appeared offside to many, most notably the visiting bench, however, the goal stood and all but sealed the historic win for the hosts.

The final 25 minutes of the match included a plethora of substitutions and very little action, apart from a solid save at the death from Ocean City’s Marc Bonnaire, who was hardly tested all night. Despite Lehigh Valley’s strong second half, the early Ocean City goals were more than enough to secure a historic seventh straight win to open the USL League Two campaign. Ocean City is back Sunday with a quick turnaround, hosting Real Central NJ at Carey Stadium. Lehigh Valley fell further behind the rest of the Mid-Atlantic division, and will have a tough task with West Chester United SC coming to Moravian University on Sunday.

Evan Cohen is a Philadelphia native currently studying at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. A Philadelphia Union supporter since the club's start in 2010, Evan began contributing to Philadelphia Soccer Now in 2023.

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