Reading United followed up a dominant performance against Baltimore with a complete dismantling of the Evergreen F.C. Hammers that ended with a 7-1 victory for the home team Wednesday night. United knew it needed another win to stay in first place in the Mid Atlantic division of the PDL, and they certainly delivered.
The match started out as more of a defensive battle, as Reading controlled the pace of the match early on. It wasn’t until the 17th minute that they finally broke the visitors defensive unit when Rayane Boukemia continued his hot play, scoring his third goal of the season off an assist by Ismael Noumansana.
The visitors seemed to surprise the Reading defense and the home crowd in the 25th minute when they tied it up on a goal by Graydon Hester. Up until this point Reading controlled the match, but a momentary lapse on the defensive side led to the score being all tied up at 1-1.
Reading continued to control the match after Evergreen tied it up, but the Hammers’ defense played well in keeping the United attack contained. Reading was able to break through in the 41st minute when forward Frantzdy Pierrot buried a cross from Charlie Reymann, and Reading went ahead for good as time expired in the first half.
As the second half began Reading looked like a different team, they came out attacking the Evergreen defense with a different intensity than what was seen in the first half. Frenchman Ismael Noumansana took a well-played pass from Boukemia and notched his first goal of the season in the 49th minute.
Noumansana scored again in the 62nd minute, and after that the floodgates opened as reading scored in the 71st minute (Pierrot, second of the match), 75th minute (Boukemia on a penalty), and the 77th minute (Hugo Delhommelle).
By the time the match was over Rayane Boukemia managed two goals and three assists. Joining him with two goals were Pierrot and Noumansana. This Reading team seems to have found its finishing touch, which seemed lacking in the first half of the season. In the last two games, United have outscored their opponent 11-1 and are in control of their own destiny as the regular season for the PDL winds down.
With two games left, Reading sits at the top of the division with 25 points, and they only need to manage two more points to win the division as Baltimore defeated second place Ocean City. Reading returns to action on July 13 in a key road game against the Jersey Express. A win will clinch the division for Reading, returning them to the postseason - where they have had great success in the past.
Reading then returns home for the final game of the regular season on Sunday July 17th at 5:00 PM as Lehigh Valley United Sonic are once again the opponent. The teams will meet for the third time this season after splitting two previous games with 1-0 wins each.
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.