EXETER TWP., Pa. - Reading United A.C. put in a gritty, workmanlike performance to earn a 1-0 victory over the visiting Clarkstown SC Eagles to book a date in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Second Round against the New York Cosmos on Wednesday, May 17th. Frantzdy Pierrot’s goal in first half stoppage time was the difference as United claimed their sixth consecutive first round victory, a new U.S. Open Cup record.
The physical tone of the match was set in the early going when Eagles’s defender Christopher Riordan collided with United midfielder Jorge Guinovart in violent aerial challenge in the fifth minute. Guinovart, one of the top midfielders in the Premier Development League, was forced to leave the match with a head injury.
Despite the chippy play, United held their poise and played possession soccer, punctuated with crisp passing that often found Reading players cutting in behind the Eagles defense. The home side threatened throughout the first half but couldn’t find the breakthrough despite firing eight shots and forcing Clarkstown goalkeeper Roberto Pellegrini to make four saves.
Reading would be rewarded just before the stroke of halftime. United midfielder Hugo Delhommelle shook off a Clarkstown defender and picked out Pierrot with a long pass up the right channel. The forward muscled his way around his defender before being fouled in the penalty area by Pellegrini, with referee Melvin Holmes pointing to the penalty spot. Pierrot stepped up and saw his initial effort parried but the big forward headed home the rebound for the game’s only goal. It was Pierrot’s second career Open Cup goal and his first of the 2017 campaign.
United continued to control play in the second half and were looking for an important insurance goal when midfielder Aaron Molloy was sent off after he picked up a second yellow card in the 76th minute.
Clarkstown tried to press their man advantage, but the Reading defense did well dealing with the Eagles barrage of long balls into United’s defensive third. United goalkeeper Ben Beaury made four fairly routine saves to earn the shut out win.
United Head Coach Stephen Hogan was pleased with the performance of his side, saying, “We started off very patient, it was the game plan. They were very physical right off the bat. But Aaron Molloy and Hugo Delhommelle started to take over the midfield and we did move the ball quickly. We were unfortunate in front of goal, but I don’t think we were ruthless enough in front of goal. It was a deserved penalty before the half, but we could have been two or three up before going in at half.” He continued, “You go to the 75th minute, and Molloy gets sent off and that’s unfortunate, but it was a foul and a second yellow. We fight and we had two very creative center midfielders and had no more subs and the two of them had to be disciplined enough to do their job and they did it. I think the whole back line, with Emmanuel Chanis leading the charge, was fantastic. It was a great performance to fight through, we’ll take it and move on.”
With the win, Reading United will host the defending North American Soccer League champions, the New York Cosmos, in the second round of the 2017 U.S. Open Cup. United last defeated a professional club in the second round of the Open Cup in 2013, when Mario Pinto’s first half goal was all Reading needed to defeat the Harrisburg City Islanders, 1-0.
Reading United will kickoff their 2017 Premier Development League season on Saturday, May 13th when they host local rivals Lehigh Valley United at Don Thomas Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:30pm with tickets available online. All United home matches throughout the 2017 PDL season will be played at Exeter Township Senior High School. Tickets for the all regular season matches are available at www.readingunitedac.com. Contact our ticket sales team at firstname.lastname@example.org for all your group needs.
Game information courtesy of Reading United AC.