From the opening whistle Reading played this match as if their season depended on it, and in part it very well may have. Coming off a tough midweek loss to the Red Bulls U23 that saw them drop a close 1-0 game, Reading knew they had to prevail if they hoped to stay on top of a very difficult PDL Mid Atlantic Division.
On Saturday the third-place Baltimore Bohemians came to town looking to avenge an earlier loss to Reading. The United struck quick with Paul Marie streaking down the right side and delivering a crucial goal in the 2nd minute that left the visitors reeling. Marie now leads the team with seven goals on the season.
Baltimore steadied the ship in the minutes after the early goal by Marie but they could not crack the stingy United defense and ‘keeper Steffen Kraus. The home side struck again in the 21st minute when Rayane Boukemia took it right up the middle off a beautiful pass from Bradley Fountain and drilled the ball past the Baltimore keeper.
Minutes later Reading extended the lead to 3-0 when forward Frantzdy Pierrot made a well-timed run and scored on a cross from teammate Rayane Boukemia in the 25th minute. The United continued the pressure for the remainder of the half and came close on several occasions to scoring again against the beleaguered Bohemians.
As the second half began Baltimore came out swinging as they picked up the intensity in the opening minutes. Kraus made a potential game-changing save when Josh Fawole broke though the Reading defense but came up empty when he was turned away by the German-born keeper.
As the second half progressed, Baltimore continued to pressure the Reading defense but the home side countered their attack. Finally, the Baltimore defense broke down as Jelani Pieters was taken down in the box and Bradley Fountain calmly stepped up to knock in the fourth goal of the match.
With the 4-0 victory, Reading delivered the statement win it needed and communicated to the rest of the Mid Atlantic Division that the road to the top runs through Reading.
Reading celebrated their annual Hometown Heroes Night which honors first responders, military service personnel, and veterans. The team wore special red jerseys for the match which were auctioned off with all proceeds going to the Keystone Warriors, a non-profit organization which aids wounded veterans.
Reading United A.C. returns to action Wednesday, July 6th at 7:00 PM when Evergreen F.C. comes to town. Reading defeated Evergreen 5-0 back on May 21st in Leesburg, VA.
David Musante serves as the team photographer for Reading United A.C. and is owner of Penn Images. He also covers Reading United for The Brotherly Game. Additional match photos can be found at www.PennImages.com/ReadingUnited.