The first round of the 2013 U.S. Open Cup kicked off last night in Ocean City, New Jersey with the Ocean City Nor’easters playing host to the Red Bulls New York U23 squad. After a game of many chances, The Nor’easters were victorious with a 2-0 win and will face the Pittsburgh Riverhounds whom defeated RWB Adria on penalty kicks 1-1 (5-4).
Ocean City became tied in second with the Des Moines Menace in terms of wins by a PDL team in the Open Cup. For the Red Bulls U23s, this was their debut in the cup after qualifying with an 11-3-0 record in the NPSL last season.
The RBNY U-23s were first to attempt a shot on goal, but the Nor’easter defense quickly quelled the attack. Ocean City responded immediately, and had the best chance in the 6th minute. Forward Markhau Lacroix muscled himself behind the Red Bulls’ defense and slotted a shot just wide of the far post, for the best chance within the first ten minutes of the match.
Ocean City continued to apply pressure on the Red Bulls and it finally paid off in the 15th minute. A goal kick taken by Nor’easters’ keeper Keasel Broome fell to Markhaus Lacroix who broke free from the Red Bulls’ defense. Lacroix made sure not to miss this attempt and put it right past RBNY keeper Max Brown to put Ocean City up 1-0.
The first half belonged to the Nor’easters, as the RBNY U23s struggled to break into their offensive third. The Ocean City defense had no problem repelling any and all attacks that the U23s could muster. Ocean City however, had no problems getting through the RBNY defense. Lacroix had a field day on the wing, finding himself often alone on the wing, with opportunities to cross it into the RBNY box.
The Red Bulls did manage to threaten the Nor’easters keeper when a shot low shot from RBNY forward Brandon Allen forced Nor’easters to get down low to keep it 1-0 Ocean City at the half.
The second half started as the first ended, with Ocean City pressing hard, hoping to increase their lead. The Red Bulls did their best to absorb the pressure and were handling it relatively well for the most part. Just like the first half, the Red Bulls had difficulties getting into the Ocean City defensive area. The Nor’easters found themselves on the counterattack often, but each attack broke down near the Red Bulls box.
Ocean City finally got the second goal they were looking for around the 60th minute. Nor’easters forward Frank Tweneboa managed to put a low cross into the box where it was met by midfielder Nick Perea who put it past substitute RBNY keeper Joe Ohaus. That made it 2-0 Ocean City with a half hour left to play. The Nor’easter defense tightened up after the second goal, making opportunities for the U23s very rare.
The Nor’easters continued keeping pressure on the RBNY defense, but couldn’t find the third breakthrough. All the while, RBNY absorbed the pressure, occasionally getting the ball out to the midfield where they continued to struggle. Still down 2-0, the U23s pushed on, hoping to pull one back. They had an appeal for a handball, but the ref waved it off and that would be the end of the match.
With the win, Ocean City moves up to seven wins in US Open Cup play and will host the Pittsburgh Riverhounds of USL Pro at Carey Stadium in Ocean City, New Jersey on May 21st, 7:30 kickoff.
The Red Bulls U23 coach Simon Nee was disappointed with the result, after such a good season last year in the NPSL.
“We knew it was going to be a competitive game tonight, you know both teams struggled to find rhythm in the first half of the game. It was a battle, it was scrappy. They got behind us, I thought we defended too high on the first goal and we got caught. It was a good goal, a good finish. The second half, we tried to play our game a little bit more. It was a bobbly field, we knew mistakes would happen, but, we could live with that. As long as we tried to play our philosophy, which is to pass and move and keep the game simple, and in spells we did a much better job at that.”