The Ocean City Nor’Easters of Premier Development League soccer pulled off a major upset in the second round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Wednesday evening.
Galvanized by a pair of goals that stunned their opponent in the opening seven minutes, the Nor’Easters went on to beat the Charlotte Independence of the United Soccer League, 3-1, under rainy conditions in Matthews, N.C.
The victory marks the sixth time in club history that Ocean City has defeated a professional team in U.S. Open Cup play. The previous five, however, were at home.
“We are very happy with our win,” Nor’Easters coach John Thompson said in a story on the team’s website. “It was an extremely hard-fought game. It’s never easy to play on the road … but our boys were professional from the first to the last minute.”
Ocean City will return to North Carolina for a third-round match on Tuesday against North Carolina FC, also of the USL.
Kyle Gurrieri, who plays college soccer at South Carolina, scored twice in the opening seven minutes to fuel the Nor’Easters dream start against the Independence. Fredlin Momepremier, a Fairleigh Dickinson player, added a goal in the dying embers of the opening half to give Ocean City a 3-0 lead at the interval.
Jorge Herrera scored in the 58th minute for the Independence, which also later had a goal disallowed due to an offsides infraction. Ocean City, however, was in total control defensively of the final 15 minutes, although an Independence strike from 25 yards narrowly missed the right post in stoppage time.
The Nor’Easters, who improved to 3-0 overall with the victory, gained their 11th U.S. Open Cup win as a PDL team (12th overall as a franchise), which is one shy of second place among all amateur teams in the modern era.
The Nor’Easters defeated AFC Ann Arbor (Mich.), 3-0, in their U.S. Open Cup opener.
The U.S. Open Cup is the oldest continuous national soccer competition in the country. The 105-year competition includes teams from three professional leagues (Major League Soccer, North American Soccer League and the USL), as well as amateur clubs such as the Nor’Easters of the PDL.
According to the team’s website, a win in the third round may lead the Nor’Easters into a matchup with an MLS team. The Nor’Easters have twice played MLS teams in the U.S. Open Cup, most recently in 2013 when they lost by a 2-1 score to the Philadelphia Union, who scored the winner in second-half stoppage time.
Prior to their third-round Cup game next week, the Nor’Easters will travel to New York to face the Long Island Rough Riders in a PDL match on Saturday.