Reading United: Match Reports / US Open Cup

OT goal ends Reading United’s US Open Cup run

Photo: Courtesy of Rochester Rhinos

Reading United traveled up to Rochester, NY for a US Open Cup third round match against USL PRO side and 1999 US Open Cup champions Rochester Rhinos. The visitors looked to carry their season’s fast start and, and replicate their upset win over USL PRO club Harrisburg City Islanders in 2013.

Reading’s Nick Surkamp opened the scoring in the 65th minute befpre Rochester equalized one minute later. Still level at 1-1 after regulation time, the game went to extra time before Reading was down to ten men after Darius Madison received a second yellow card in the 97th minute. Rhinos striker Colin Rolfe scored the game winner in the 119th minute to advance Rochester to the fourth round and a home game with defending Open Cup champions D.C. United.

First Half

Flow and possession went back and forth throughout a fast paced first half with neither team creating many threatening scoring opportunities. In the 12th minute, Reading’s Nick Surkamp beat the offside trap and fired a hard shot on goal forcing a big save from Rochester goalkeeper, John McCarthy, an alumni of both Reading and Ocean City Nor’easters.

In the 23rd minute, Reading’s Ourmar Ballo received a yellow card for retaliation towards Rochester’s Jossimar Sanchez. The previous play Sanchez went in hard for the ball and connected. Ballo thought otherwise and bumped hard into his opponent.

Reading increased their offensive as the first half came to an end when a Rochester defensive miscue between Mike Garzi and Tony Walls almost gave Reading the lead. In the 44th minute, Ignacio Maganto’s floating free kick was headed clear with the follow-up shot sailing over the crossbar.

Reading out-shot Rochester 4-2 in the half and looked to have the upper-hand heading into the locker room.

Second Half

The intermission clearly inspired Rochester, who came out firing on all cylinders. Reading responded by playing two rows of four on defense, forcing Rochester to try balls over the top rather than mainintaining possession to create chances. In the 51st minute, Rochester’s Jonny Mendoza’s delivered a curling ball to a streaking Alex Dixon but he was waved for offsides.

Rochester’s slick one-touch passing began to expose Reading’s back-line but a chance in the 57th minute went off-target.

A dangerous shot from Darius Madison after a run through the midfield forced his former teammate McCarthy to full stretch as the ball sailed high over the cross bar. Reading broke the deadlock on their next chance when in the 65th minute, Nick Surkamp split his defender and chipped his shot over McCarthy after securing Maganto’s pass.

The lead would be short lived.

From the restart, Rochester’s Alex Dixon sent a low cross into Reading’s box, where Mendoza found space to score the equalizer.

Madison looked to retake the lead for Reading on his next opportunity. However, Babacar Diallo snuffed out the threat on the 1v1 opportunity.

The game would remain tied after 90 minutes, sending the contest into extra time.

Extra Time

Both teams struggled to dictate the game’s pace after the start of extra time. In the 97th minute, Madison received a second yellow card for tugging on an opponent’s jersey. Earlier in the match, Reading’s leading scorer was carded for persistent infringement. Now Reading would have to find a gamewinner down a man.

While Rochester began to control the momentum with several attacks, Reading was able to fend off all chances as the game moved closer to penalty kicks. With Reading failing to register a shot in extra time, it began to look like it would be Rochester who would find the second goal.

That is exactly what they did when, in the 119th minute, Mendoza sent in a perfect cross to Colin Rolfe, who flicked in the game-winner from close range.

Reading can return home with their heads held high as they put in a respectable and gutty 120 minute performance against a professional side.

“We really showed the level that we are capable of playing at tonight, even with a man down we didn’t miss a beat.” Reading United midfielder Shaner Campbell said after the game. “We gave a very good Rochester team a lot to deal with.”

“I’m very proud of the boys and we are going to build on the positives and focus on our PDL season,” said Campbell.

That focus focus is now on their next opponent in league play, FA Euro. The teams will face off at Gurski Stadium in Reading on Saturday, May 31 at 7 pm.

For Rochester, the win means they will host 2013 US Open Cup champions DC United on June 17 in a rematch of the 2000 Open Cup final in which DC defeated Rochester.

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