NEWARK – The Jersey Express welcomed back Ansger Otto last week after a successful season with Philadelpia Fury in the ASL. Through his first two games, the veteran midfielder has proven to be just what the Express needed.
Otto’s goal in the 47th minute proved to be the first of three second half goals as the Express defeated Lehigh Valley, 3-0, on Saturday night at NJIT’s Lubetkin Field. With the victory, the Jersey Express (8-2-2) maintained their lead in the PDL’s Mid-Atlantic Division heading into Wednesday night’s showdown against New York Red Bulls U23.
“To have a replacement like (Ansger) definitely helps out. We needed him here and I was counting down the days (until he was back),” Express coach Anderson Da Silva said. “He’s a player that can play the midfield, he can play as a forward. He can be out there not doing anything, but that one ball he receives, one ball that he gets, he makes a difference.”
“We have really good players on the team so it was easy to jell with them,” said Otto, who is in his fifth season with the Jersey Express. “I know if I make a good run, my teammates are going to find me.”
Otto, who assisted on the lone goal in Wednesday’s win over Reading, received a pass from teammate Carlos Vitor Alvarenga Silva.
Otto then placed his shot from 30 yards out past Lehigh Valley keeper Logan Keys and into the lower right corner of the net. The goal, Otto’s first with the Express, not only snapped a scoreless deadlock, but provided a sense of relief for a team, which had been unable to break through despite numerous quality scoring chances.
“Carlos Vitor played a beautiful pass through and I just saw the keeper move to the opposite side and I just tried to put it around him,” Otto said. “I was able to do that and put it far post.”
Once armed with the lead, the Express added some much appreciated insurance with goals from Federico DeOliveira in the 85th minute and Alex Bilay in the 89th minute.
“When we play against a team like this, we can’t play too relaxed because when you play too relaxed, you let them come back into the game. Scoring the first goals was a big relief and we kept attacking. We broke the ice.”
Matthew Turner made three saves to earn his fourth consecutive shutout victory. The biggest of those stops came on a Miguel Ross shot to keep it 1-0 in the 49th minute.
Keys was stellar in net for Lehigh Valley (1-10-1), making 13 saves, highlighted by a pair of stops he made in the 43th minute on Jefferson Feitosa and Otto.
Overall, the Express held a decisive 33-7 shot advantage and controlled possession for the majority of the match.