|South Jersey Soccer:
Ocean City Narrows the Gap
Carmichael Gets His First, Ortiz Scores Again to Knock off First Place Westchester on the Road
Sunday, June 4, 2006
By Josh Hakala
NEW ROCHELLE, NY - The Ocean City Barons began Sunday's match eight points behind the Westchester Flames in the Northeast Division, and by the final whistle, they had pulled three points closer with a 2-1 win. It was the first of four straight road games for the Barons, and the second game in as many nights for the Flames. With the victory, the Barons (2-1-2, 8 points) find themselves in second place in the division, five points behind Westchester (4-2-1, 13 points).
Much like the first game of the year, the Barons struck shortly after the opening whistle, when Jeremy Ortiz (Mt. Laurel, NJ), making his first start of the year, scored on a cross from Byron Carmichael (Lumberton, NJ) in the 3rd minute. It was his team-leading third strike in the last two matches for Ortiz, having scored both goals in the second half of last week's 2-0 win over Albany.
Ortiz nearly added another in the 28th minute when Ryan Heins (Temple) sent in a cross and the LaSalle product had to fight off a defender and sent the ball over the bar from short range.
The visitors controlled the run of play in the first half, but after halftime, the Flames picked up their attack. Nine minutes into the second half, Westchester saw their best chance of the match when midfielder Frederick Schramm broke in on goal from the right wing and forced Barons' goalkeeper Adam Edwards (Bucknell) to make a diving save.
Physical play in the Ocean City offensive third was a theme tonight, highlighted by Heins sending a through ball to Carmichael, who was nearly brought down from behind by Flames defender Luke Sager, but he managed to keep his feet long enough to send the ball past the oncoming goalkeeper for this first goal of the season.
"The first goal is always the hardest," said Carmichael, who has scored 10 goals in each of the last two seasons with Ocean City.
Down by two goals at home, the Flames pushed forward, only to see the Barons break through once again. Westchester goalkeeper Brett Pollack, who kept the score close with nine saves in the match, watched fellow defender Brian Kuritsky make the save of the game. Carmichael thought he had his second score when he headed the ball toward an empty net on the right side of goal, but Kuritsky saved the ball off the line to keep the score at 2-0.
The Flames' all-out attack received a boost three minutes later when Boston College and U.S. Under-20 National Team member Charlie Davies, who had been held in check throughout the match, made a great individual effort at the top of the box. With defenders around him, he received a pass from Schramm, made a couple of fakes, touched the ball to his right and fired a low driving shot through traffic past a diving Edwards for his fifth goal of the season. Including Sunday's match, Davies and strike partner Charles Altcheck have combined for 10 goals and four assists in seven games.
Desperate to level the score at home, Westchester earned a free kick deep in the attacking third on what would prove to be the final play of the game. The ball was crossed into the box but Edwards came off his line to beat Schramm to the ball who came inches short of equalizing.
"Our plan was to go into their backyard and play them physically," said Ocean City player/coach Neil Holloway. "I think they were upset and a bit shell shocked." Holloway exemplified that physical play by receiving a yellow card for a slide tackle in the 9th minute of the match. He has been shown a yellow card in every game so far this season, and his fifth earns him a one-game suspension, thus making him unavailable for their midweek game against the Brooklyn Knights.
The Men In Red will take their two-game winning streak back to New York, this time to the Metropolitan Oval, to take on the Knights at 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday. Fans not able to make the trip to Brooklyn, NY can listen to the live play-by-play online by visiting the Ocean City Barons' website at sjbarons.com.