The Baltimore Bohemians are now just 90 minutes away from a possible berth in the Mid-Atlantic Division playoffs, after they dominated the New Jersey-LUSO Rangers, 5-1, in the home finale at Ridley Athletic Complex on Wednesday evening.
The visitors were already at a disadvantage before the opening whistle blew, having only 11 active players on the field. Baltimore cashed in early, as Pete Caringi converted a cross from Kaoru Forbess after only five minutes.
Despite the lack of manpower, the Rangers evened the score after 34 minutes, as Jared Golestani headed a ball in from the six-yard box past a leaping Zach Kane.
After an own goal put Baltimore back up 2-1 five minutes later, Caringi netted his second goal of the match on 44 minutes, drilling a shot into the upper right corner after a defensive lapse from the Rangers left the striker with an open chance on goalkeeper Paul Killian.
Two second half goals for the hosts put the result beyond doubt. A splendid give-and-go from Geaton Caltabiano to Austin Martz was finished off when Martz curled his shot inside the near post ten minutes into the second half.
Baltimore's fifth goal of the evening was provided by Caltabiano on 57 minutes, as he strolled in and floated a ball into the top left corner, giving him four goals on the season.
The Bohemian netminders made three saves in all during the contest, one coming from Zach Kane, who notched his first career win, and two from debutante Zak Davis, who relieved Kane after 75 minutes.
With just one game remaining in the regular season, Baltimore seeks to make the PDL playoffs for the first time in just their second season of existence. If the Bohemians defeat division champions Ocean City in New Jersey on Sunday evening, they will accomplish just that. The Nor'easters clinched the division earlier in the week with a win over Reading United.
Baltimore is tied on points with Reading and Jersey Express (26), and all three teams have identical 7-1-5 records. As it currently stands, Baltimore would be seeded second due to a better goal difference (+26, compared to +24 and +18, respectively). Reading travels to Central Jersey on Saturday, while Jersey Express goes on the road to face the Rangers.
Goals: NJR – Jared Golestani (34'); BAL – Pete Caringi (5', 44'), Jameson Lochhead (39'- own goal), Austin Martz (55'), Geaton Caltabiano (57')
Yellow Cards: NJR – Daniel Rasoilo (70'), Jameson Lochhead (71')
Shots: NJR – 6, BAL – 21
Saves: NJR – 9, BAL – 3
Fouls: NJR – 10, BAL – 5
Offsides: NJR – 4, BAL – 6
Corners: NJR – 1, BAL – 5