By BRIAN CUNNIFF
OCEAN CITY — Middle Township High School’s boys soccer team erupted for three goals over an eight-minute span against 10-man Ocean City to rally for a 4-2 victory over the Raiders under the lights at Carey Stadium Tuesday evening.
Middle, bouncing back from Saturday’s loss in the Cape-Atlantic League playoff semifinal, improved to 13-2-1 with the win in the CAL conference crossover contest. Ocean City fell to 10-4.
“We hear it all the time, that maybe we’re coming from a weaker division, so it’s good to come out here and get good competition against a team like Ocean City, especially with their historical background and their reputation. That’s a heck of a program,” Middle coach Scott Kurkowski said.
Landon Osmundsen’s wonderful glancing header that redirected Austin Carr’s sublime cross inside the right post nine minutes from full time gave Middle the lead for good.
The goal came in Osmundsen’s first game back after a two-week quarantine absence due to exposure to COVID-19.
“That was a heck of a goal by Landon,” Kurkowski said. “He’s put the work in all year, so it’s great to see him get on the stat sheet and get some recognition.”
Steve Berrodin finished off a hat trick by converting a penalty kick 4 ½ minutes later to set the final score. Vinny Povio drew the penalty by being fouled in the penalty area after running past the Raider defense.
Middle trailed 2-1 after John Lindsay scored the second of his two goals 12 minutes into the second half. But five minutes later, an Ocean City player was sent off after violently pushing a Middle player to the turf in retaliation to a hard foul.
Berrodin netted his second goal 10 minutes later to equalize, brilliantly bringing a bouncing ball to his feet before blasting into goal from six yards out after Osmundsen’s pass was briefly popped into the air by an Ocean City defender.
Berrodin also opened the scoring by first winning a physical battle for a ball in the air before using an excellent first touch to set himself for an unstoppable left-footed shot that found the goal with 15 minutes to play in the first half.
“Big players make big plays in big games,” Kurkowski said. “Steve had arguably one of the best performances in a game that I’ve seen.”
Lindsay brought Ocean City to level terms 5 ½ minutes before halftime, setting the stage for what turned out to be a wild second half.