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South Jersey Soccer:
Ocean City Barons Versus Cape Cod Crusaders: Match Preview

Monday, May 23, 2005

By Paul O'Donnell
Ocean City Barons Correspondent

As of right now, Cape Cod has not played their match with Albany scheduled for May 21. The match has been postponed and as yet no announcement on arrangements to play the match has been made. Since Cape Cod has played only one match so far (a 1-0 win) a victory over Albany would see them tied with the Barons at the top of the division with six points setting the stage for the key match next Sunday (May 29) in Ocean City. A victory by Albany would also put them in a tie at the top with the Barons and could eliminate the Crusaders from Open Cup consideration.

The Barons and Cape Cod have been the top teams in the Northeast Division of the PDL over the past several seasons. The Crusaders were also back-to-back national champions in 2002 & '03 so its no surprise that this upcoming match is a key fixture in the season for both sides. How either does in their face-to-face meetings will very likely determine whether the season is a success or not. And thats not only because of the division standings.

This match will also likely determine which team from the division wins invitation to the US Open Cup 1st round which begins on June 15. Note that because of the additional MLS teams this season (two expansion clubs began play this year; Chivas USA and Real Salt Lake) it actually is possible that the loser of this match could still earn a spot in what the Open Cup organizers have called the “preliminary round”. Possible, but not likely.

It is far more likely that the winner here will be on top of the division and enter the Open Cup in round 1.

As events are unfolding it seems to favor the Barons. They will face Cape Cod at home in Ocean City after the Crusaders play the Reading Rage on Saturday night. The Barons got a taste of the back-to-back away games last weekend and the influence that can have on performance on the pitch. Add to that the situation with their postponed match, which will have to be played before the end of the month, and the Crusaders may have to play yet another match this week.

The Crusaders also expect to add three players to the roster that did not compete in their opening match; two of them returning players Kurt Morsink and Dayton O'Brien. O'Brien is also supposed to be returning to the team with one of his mates from the Univ of Memphis, Andy Metcalf, whose reputation is that of a natural goal scorer. The Crusaders are apparently hoping that Metcalf will bring to their side a dimension they lost when Joseph Ngwenya was drafted into Major League Soccer by the LA Galaxy two years ago.

The Barons will still have Neil Holloway sidelined due to his injury (probably four more weeks before he is match fit) as well as David Daigle who suffered an MCL injury in the match against Albany.

The Barons have also made some roster moves due to players not reporting and have added Andy Tait (defender) who should be available for this match. Ryan Overdevest has also rejoined the Barons and Michael Todd will be available as well. Barons #1 keeper Ryan Carr will be attending an NCAA banquet so George Vasilakis will be in goal.

Come see this important match unfold before your eyes at Ocean City's Carey Field on Sunday, May 29. Division leadership and US Open Cup qualifying will be on the line. Kickoff is set for 7:30.

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