Reading United: Previews

Preview: Reading readies for crucial two-game weekend

Reading United heads into an important two-game home stand this weekend looking to gain ground in the division standings. Currently undefeated, and in third place with 11 points in the Mid Atlantic Division of the Premier Development League’s Eastern Conference, United enter the weekend with three games in hand on both second-place Long Island Rough Riders and first-place Jersey Express.

On Friday, Reading will host bitter rivals Ocean City Nor’Easters at 7 pm before taking on the Rough Riders at 3 pm on Sunday.

The 2014 season has so far been a down year for the Nor’Easters, who were the division and conference champions in 2013, making it as far as the semifinals of the league championship playoffs. Currently in fifth place in the Mid Atlantic Division, Ocean City travels to Gurski Stadium on Friday with a 2-2-1 record and will look to bounce back from a 3-0 road loss against Jersey Express last Saturday.

Second-place Long Island arrives in Reading searching for three points after losing to Baltimore Bohemians 3-1 at home on Wednesday. The Rough Riders have seven players with at least one goal and will test Reading’s defense as their is no clear lone offensive threat. Earlier this season, Reading and Long Island drew in a scoreless affair.

For United, Darius Madison and long throw-in specialist Nick Surkamp will look to power Reading’s offensive attack. The Reading duo has combined to score six of the team’s 10 goals in league play.

Defensively, Robbie Sagel has led Reading’s effective backline, with goalkeeper Alex Bono recording two clean sheets in 2014. In league play, Reading has held opponents scoreless over the last 303 minutes of match time, allowing a league-best three goals this season.

The upcoming two-game home stand will make for an important weekend for Reading. They could end the weekend tied with Jersey Express atop the standings and remain undefeated, or create an even tighter Mid-Atlantic race.

Sunday’s game is Reading’s third annual Ian’s Boots Day. Fans are asked to bring gently used shoes to the game to assist this non-profit organization in helping those less fortunate.

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