With New York Red Bulls U23 threatening to run away with the Mid-Atlantic Division, playoff hopes for Reading United and Ocean City Nor’easters may be resting on a critical two-game set the rivals will play beginning tonight at John Gurski Stadium in Reading.
The two teams had a game abandoned on Friday because of a storm that cut the power. Both won their most recent matches with Reading United taking care of business on Tuesday with a 4-1 win at FA Euro New York. Ocean City shut FA Euro New York out over the weekend.
Aaron Molloy had a goal and an assist and Paul Marie, Khori Bennett and Gilbert Waso also scored on Tuesday night to lead Reading to its sixth win of the season. While they are three points behind second place Ocean City and 12 behind first place New York Red Bulls U23, Reading has played four fewer games than Red Bulls U23 and one fewer than Ocean City.
Only the top two teams in the division make the playoffs so the game tonight and the return fixture to Ocean City on Sunday promise to raise the rivalry to a new level.
In other recent local PDL action:
Ocean City Nor’easters 1 FA Euro New York 0 - June 25
Max Hemmings scored off an assist from Akeil Barrett in the fourth minute and the defense did the rest in a crucial 1-0 win for Ocean City Nor’easters. Todd Morton (West Chester, Pa.) only had to make one save to record the clean sheet. Even with the win, Ocean City remains 11 points out of first place with one game in hand and three points ahead of Reading United, which has three games in hand.
Lehigh Valley United 3 Jersey Express 5 - June 25
Lehigh Valley ended up on the wrong end of a wild seven-goal second half. Mark Forrest (Douglassville, Pa.), Mickey George and Jordon Ellison got the goals. With the loss, United fell to 3-5-1 on the season.
Lehigh Valley United 1 New York Red Bulls U23 - June 21
A.J. Bishop (Macungie, Pa.) scored in the 90th minute but by then the game was already lost for Lehigh Valley United in another dominant performance by Brian White (Flemington, N.J.), who leads PDL in goals with 13.