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South Jersey Soccer:
Barons Home Opener a Winner

Sunday, May 22, 2005

By Paul O'Donnell
Ocean City Barons Correspondent

The weather was near perfect for soccer despite the on shore breeze, the pitch a little heavy, the entertainment by the Baronette's spectacular and the crowd enthusiastic (especially John Thompson's cheering section) while the soccer on display a bit disjointed. The result on the night was a good win for the Barons in their home opener at Carey Field over the Vermont Voltage 3-1 moving them to the top of the division with six points from their first three games.

Frankly, the match began brightly for both sides letting everyone there know (paid attendance announced as 527, but I thought there were many more than that) this would be a soccer game and it wouldn't be a walk for either side and as it turned out it wasn't. A nice cross from Joe Brocker (the Baron's right back who had a considerable influence on the play especially in the opening half) found Tony Donatelli off a deflection by the Vermont keeper who lashed it into the net in the 5th minute for his 2nd goal on the season.

Two minutes later Ruben Mingo found Adam Sternberger and his shot from about ten yards made it 2-0 Barons and it seemed the Barons were well in control. At this point in the match the Barons pressure, aided by aggressive runs by both the left and right backs (Tommy Greenawalt and Joe Brocker) seemed to keep the Voltage on the back foot for much of the half. The play up front of Sternberger, Mingo and Carmichael, the aggressive runs by the Barons backs and long balls from Thompson out of the back to the front runners kept Vermont in check.

Unfortunately for the Barons too many good chances and offensive thrusts during this period of the match ended in frustration and the score remained 2-0 until the 36th minute when a finely executed counter by Vermont made it 2-1. The final ball in from Simic found Anderson and his nice volley found the back of the Barons net. Three well executed touches; game on.

The match settled into a midfield struggle for both sides and the result was as you might expect; six yellows and plenty of fouls. Vermont picked up the tempo with two subs at half time and the war in the midfield continued until the 73rd when Donatelli added another strike for the Barons off a scramble in front restoring the two goal advantage and the eventual game ending scoreline 3-1. Brocker and Greenawalt's contributions on the night kept the Barons up tempo game going throughout.

Adam Sternberger was rewarded for his game winning goal and fine play in the offensive 3rd with Man of the Match honors. The Barons back four of John Thompson, Chris Williams in the middle, Brocker and Greenawalt out wide were again keys to the game for the Barons.

The upcoming match with Cape Cod on Sunday, May 29 at Carey Field will demand the Barons be more precise and efficient in the offensive end finishing the chances that they create if they are to earn qualification for the US Open Cup and continue to lead the division. The eight PDL clubs with the best records at the end of play for May will earn invitations to the opening round.

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