Reading United: Match Reports

Offense, defense shine in Reading’s 3-0 rout of Baltimore

Photo: Courtesy of Reading United

The Darius Madison show continued at Gurski Stadium as Reading United hosted the Baltimore Bohemians in their USL-PDL home opener on Saturday. For most of the match, Reading controlled possession and dictated the pace of the game.

A two-goal effort from Madison in the second half pushed Reading to the victory and extended their undefeated start to the season.

First half

Reading took control of the match quickly and looked to take the early lead. In the fourth minute, Reading earned a free kick from 30 yards out. The ensuing kick found it’s way into the box but was headed out of danger. Minutes later, Reading earned another dangerous set piece opportunity, but could not craft a solid chance on frame.

On the counterattack, Baltimore almost found an opening goal of their own. Brandon Allen, a Georgetown University forward and one of college soccer’s top prospects, found space in the offensive third before Reading’s defense quickly thwarted any open shot from occuring, then swiftly transitioned into a counterattack of their own. The chance ended with Owen Griffith’s shot being deflected out for the game’s first corner kick.

Reading would find the opening goal on the very next sequence of play when, in the 12th minute, Surkamp’s corner kick from the far end found defender Oumar Ballo, who headed it past Baltimore goalkeeper Andrew Harris.

After the restart, Reading looked to extend their lead. After advancing past a slew of defenders in a nice sequence of moves, the threat ended with Madison being called for a  foul.

Baltimore almost found the equalizer with twenty minutes left in the half when Allen dribbled past his defender and forced a diving Alex Bono to protect Reading’s one-goal lead.

Madison’s constant pressure almost saw Reading double their lead as the half came to a close. But the chance, which ended with the University of Virginia product heading the ball over the keeper and into the net, was waved back for offsides.

As the whistle blew to end the first period of play, Reading led by only one goal, but the hosts controlled the majority of the first-half chances and possession.

Second half

Reading started the second half very sloppy and gave the ball away far too often. Soon, though, Reading’s midfield regained its composure and found Madison on another wide pass. Charging toward the penalty area he was pushed down, the referee waving off his penalty kick claim.

Amidst sloppy passing, and out-of-synch overlapping play and streaking wingers, Reading, led by Madison, began to solidify its attack. In a span of 10 minutes, the South Philly native registered three shots on target. His third shot would double Reading’s lead in the 76th minute when midfielder Ignacio Maganatio delivered a beautifully placed pass in front of a wide-open Madison, who launched a screamer from long-range into the back of the net.

Before Baltimore could regroup after Madison’s first goal, the red-hot forward found the net again in the 80th minute. This time he snuck behind the keeper and drilled the one-time flick precisely into the goal through the keeper’s legs after latching onto Nicolas Delgado’s accurate pass.

“I just told myself to relax,” Madison explained. “I wanted a goal, so I tried to grab one.”

With his two-goal performance, Madison has now scored in three straight games, including two in league play and one in the U.S. Open Cup. So far, the in-form Philadelphia Union Academy product has scored five goals and three assists in all competitions in the young 2014 Summer season.

“Darius is a great player,” Reading head coach David Castellanos said of Madison. “You give him time, and you give him space, and he is going to get some goals. But it is the pieces around Darius that are making him shine.”

With the win, Reading extended their unbeaten streak in league play to three games with a 2-0-1 record.

Overall, Castellanos was pleased with his team’s performance.

“The boys stayed compact tactically guarding Brandon Allen and other pieces,” said Castlellanos, praising his team’s strong defensive effort. “The focus for this group is ‘can we tactically defend?’. It is our shape and our willingness to defend, to get blocked shots, to get physical and aggressive. We have a great group of  boys who are buying into our system right now.”

On Monday, the team will travel up to Rochester ahead of Tuesday’s U.S. Open Cup third round matchup against USL-PRO side Rochester Rhinos. Kickoff is scheduled for a 7:35 pm. Reading resume USL-PDL play at home on Saturday against F.A. Euro at 7:00 pm.

4 Comments

  1. We are going to sign Madison as a Homegrown Player, right?

  2. Phil Naegely says:

    Cszack4- He is eligible to be signed as a HGP. I have no news, rumors, speculation on when that might happen. In the past Madison said he would be interested in singing a HG contract. However, given Hackworth’s track record of playing HG players, I don’t if Madison would know.

    I think he’s focused on playing at reading and returning to U of Virginia for the fall season.

  3. Nice article; thanks Phil. One request: would like to see a breakdown of who played for Reading in the game in your review. Nothing fancy, maybe just the names in order of positions,and the subs [like GK, DEF1, DEF2, DEF3, DEF4, MID1, MID2, MID3 (sub MID5), MID4, STK1 (sub STK3), STK2]. Just thought it would be helpful to see who is playing at Reading and start to learn some of the names.

  4. Phil Naegely says:

    Erik,

    I’ll work on doing that for the next game (Saturday)

    Thanks for the suggestion.

    Phil

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