Reading United: Match Reports

Recap: Reading United 2-3 Philadelphia Union

The Philadelphia Union came from behind to defeat affiliate PDL club Reading United in the fifth annual friendly between the clubs on Wednesday evening. The scoreboard at Reading’s Gurski Stadium read 3-2, but the true winners were the fans and cancer research as all Reading players’ jerseys and some game-worn Union jerseys were auctioned off for charity.

Philadelphia got the early lead just six minutes in. Home grown product Jimmy McLaughlin found Reading alum and 2009 USL-PDL MVP Aaron Wheeler on a nice through ball who fired it past Alex Bono and into the net. Throughout the first half, most of the play was contained within a midfield as both teams worked to find chances. However, both defenses played a tight shift and the score remained 1-0 Union heading into the break.

As the second half began, the hosts equalized in the 46th minute before everyone was back in their seats when Max Touloute pounced on Union goalkeeper Brian Holt’s mistake with a blast into the net. With the scoreline now level at 1-1, Reading continued to pressure the Union looking for their first ever lead in five friendlies.

That pressure paid off in the in the 75th minute. Beating the Union’s offside trap, Brett Campbell went 1-on-1 with Holt, dribbled past the Union keeper, and tapped the ball into the net.

Reading fans rejoiced in the lead, but it did not last long. Eight minutes later in the 83rd minute, Jamiel Hardware, whose home club is Union affiliate Harrisburg City Islanders, scored the first of two second-half goals to lead Philadelphia past Reading. Dribbling through the Reading defense, Hardaware found space before blasting the equalizer into the back of the net.

One minute later, Hardware, who has trained with the Union in the past and played against Philadelphia in Tuesday’s US Open Cup fourth round game at PPL Park, put the visitors up for good following a sharp pass from Antoine Hoppenot.

“It was a lot of fun seeing the guys you watch on Saturdays and Sundays on TV coming to play on our field,” Reading goalkeeper Alex Bono said after the match. “It’s fun to play against them. It’s also fun to see how we compare against them. A lot of the guys on our team are trying to be in a position those guys on the Union are in.”

Bono continued, “As a team, we’re not far off from an MLS side. I thought we stacked up pretty well against them.”

Union interim head coach Jim Curtin said of the game, “It’s a good test for some of our guys that needed minutes. We had some Academy kids and we had some trialists, which was a good exercise for them to play against some of the top college players in the nation. These guys that they’re playing against are going to be in the league next year so it’s a good exercise. It’s a great partnership, Reading is a club that has produced a ton of MLS players, produced a ton that are our roster alone, and then you look throughout the MLS and they’re everywhere.”

Reading returns to league play with two home games this weekend. On Friday, United hosts Ocean City Nor’easters at 7 pm. Sunday’s game against Long Island Rough Riders, originally scheduled to start at 6 pm, will now kickoff at 3 pm so as not to conflict with  the World Cup group game between the USA and Portugal.

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