Reading United: Match Reports

Talented Reading too much for Central Jersey Spartans

Featured image: Eryin Wandel

Reading United scored four second half goals in route to a 5-1 victory over the visiting Central Jersey Spartans. United midfielder Lasse Sohrweide contributed a goal and two assists in an efficient thirty minute shift to help maintain Reading’s position atop the Mid-Atlantic table. Reading’s dominance of conference opponents is a spectacle to behold, with Friday’s night win bringing United’s season goal differential to an astounding seventeen.

United’s talent and embarrassment of riches on the bench were on full display as the absence of regular attacking threats Brian “Cobi” Span and Brian Ownby could not stop Reading from pouring in the goals.

Reading started off the scoring in the 26th minute when speedster Shane Malcolm cut inside and found a wide open Matt Baker. Baker positioned the ball on his left foot and buried a shot from distance that rivaled Justin Mapp’s second goal against Toronto last weekend.

Central Jersey caught Reading on several through-balls throughout the first half and Ryan Finley was able to capitalize just before half when given acres of space to finish on Reading keeper Brian Holt.

The second half opened up for Reading after Central Jersey midfielder Brayan Martinez, who was impressive in the first half, was shown a red card for head-butting United midfielder Christian Barreiro.

Midfield stalwart Stephen “The Magician” Okai played a brilliant lob to Barreiro and was able to convert the rebound to put United up 2-1. The Spartans kicked off after Okai’s goal and moments later Martinez was ejected, opening the flood gates for United’s fearsome attack.

Lasse Sohrweide’s entrance injected pace and a deadly left foot that saw the German place a perfectly weighted cross right on Will Bates’ head to put the game out of reach at 3-1.  Sohrweide would then add a goal in 83rd and serve another pinpoint cross that Matt Sanner would finish on the half-volley to end the scoring. Reading United fields one of the strongest PDL teams in the country and clearly owns enough talent to field multiple competitive sides.

Scoring Summary:

RDG – Matt Baker (Shane Malcolm) 26’
CJS   – Ryan Finley 44’
RDG – Stephen Okai  55’
RDG – Will Bates (Lasse Sohrweide) 74’
RDG – Lasse Sohrweide (Josh Rice) 83’
RDG – Matt Sanner (Lasse Sohrweide) 88’

Starters: Brian Holt, David Rodriguez, Ged Quinn, Shane Malcolm, Matt Hedges, Christian Barreiro, Stephen Okai, Matt Baker, Will Bates, Hasani Sinclair, Steve Neumann

Subs: Josh Rice (Sinclair) 59’, Lasse Sohrweide (Neumann) 62’, Chris Harmon (Baker) 71’, Matt Sanner (Bates) 80’, Tyler Witmer (Barreiro) 83’

Player to Watch

Reading United is six games into the season and it’s already clear that several players possess the talent to play professionally. In addition to the game recap, I’ll be highlight one of Reading’s players that I believe has a good chance of moving on to the next level. This week’s player is Stephen “The Magician” Okai.

The Mobile University midfielder was named an NAIA First-Team All-American this past season. Originally from Accra, Ghana, it’s no coincidence that upon the first time seeing the holding midfielder in action I was instantly drawing comparisons to fellow countryman Michael Essien of Chelsea. Obviously I’m not saying Okai is going to be playing in the English Premier League next season, buts it’s hard to deny the similarities.

Okai possesses the strength, vision, and pace necessary to be successful as a holding mid professionally. He rarely gifts away possession and has shown a penchant for scoring, adding two goals this season in only six games. In addition, Okai has an above average engine which enables him to be an effective box-to-box midfielder and win the majority of 50-50 balls in his area. “The Magician” has the tools necessary to compete as a pro and the Union would be wise to monitor his development.


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