July 17, 2016
Reading United wins fourth straight game
READING, Pa. -- Reading United concluded the regular season with a 1-0 win over Lehigh Valley United, extending its winning streak to four games, at Don Thomas Stadium Sunday night.
Reading, which clinched the PDL Mid-Atlantic Division title last week, will meet the Western Mass Pioneers in a first-round playoff match at Don Thomas Stadium at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Reading coach Stephen Hogan made several lineup changes, Mo Conde, Auston Maloney, Reece Weldon and Kutztown High School graduate Pierre Reedy earning their first starts of the season, and Zach Zandi returning to the starting lineup for the first time since injuring his arm against Lehigh Valley June 22.
Playing in 90-degree heat, Reading United started fast. In the fifth minute, Reedy found Zandi, who was cut down by Lehigh Valley goalkeeper Cameron Keys, referee Dustin Killick awarding a penalty kick. Keys then saved Hugo Delhommelle’s penalty kick.
Reading scored in first half stoppage time as Zandi found space at the top of the penalty area and curled a shot on target, Keys saving, leaving the rebound for Jelani Pieters, who conveted.
Frantzdy Pierrot and Rayane Boukemia had chances in the closing minutes, but misfired.
Lehigh Valley rallied late, nearly scoring in second half stoppage time. Keys advanced upfield on a corner kick and was fouled by a lunging Mac Curran. Andy Adlard then sent a free kick directly at Ben Beaury just before the final whistle.
“It was great to get some players off the bench and see what they could do and get some serious minutes for some of these guys,” Hogan said. “Some of the them will be involved on Tuesday. That was the whole idea, pure minutes for some of the guys on the bench and bring on some of our starters just to get their legs going.
“I thought the game was controlled, I thought we possessed it very well. I thought we could’ve moved the ball a little quicker down the right side. When the water break happened, we were telling them that and Jelani got his goal right before halftime.”