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Ocean City blows Independence out of US Open Cup tournament
Nor'easters strike quickly in 3-1 win
 
Published Wednesday, May 16, 2018 11:00 pm
by Ashley Mahoney

MATTHEWS—Charlotte fell victim to a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup upset.

New Jersey-based PDL side Ocean City Nor’easters defeated the Independence 3-1 in the second round Wednesday to earn a trip to USL side North Carolina F.C. in the third round. The Jacks had never lost to a lower-tier side.

Charlotte gave away the game in the first five minutes. Midfielder Kyle Gurrieri scored twice for Ocean City during that span, followed by striker Fredlin Mompremier’s goal just before halftime.

“We came out slow,” Independence defender Henry Kalungi said. “We were hoping we would come out strong and pin them in, but soccer is a hard game. We gave up easy goals, and couldn’t recover. Credit to them. They wanted to fight for the game.”

Said coach Mike Jeffries: “We didn’t show up at the beginning of the game. End of story. You can’t give a team two goals five minutes in, and expect to pull yourself out. It allowed them to play the game that they wanted. They could sit in, keep numbers behind the ball, defend, get at us on breaks. We just made really poor giveaways that led to gifted goals. That’s not good enough on tonight.”

Charlotte midfielder Jorge Herrera scored in the 58th minute after coming on in the 52nd. Striker Éamon Zayed’s goal was disallowed in the 63rd minute.

“The second half we pushed the game, and we have the bulk of the game,” Jeffries said. “Did we get some decent chances, and did we get a little more? Perhaps, and I thought we made a decent push, but we obviously lost the game in the first five minutes. The kicker for us was a bad giveaway at the end of the first half, which allowed them to have an easy counterattack third goal. That really put us in a spot that was too much to come back from.”

Jeffries traditionally uses Open Cup play to test younger lineups, which he did against Ocean City. They started three 18-year-olds in defender Sam Vines, a regular in the starting lineup, while defender Calvin Doum and striker Daniel Steedman earned their first starts of the season.

“It’s a good opportunity for them to get experience in a meaningful game, and show what they’re about,” Jeffries said. “It was a tough night for all of them. The way we started made it a hard night. We never really got to settle into the rhythm that we would have liked.”

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