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Reading United stretch unbeaten regular season streak to 22 games

Reading United is in a familiar place at the top of the Mid-Atlantic Division after a 4-0 start

Photo by Matt Ralph

It was July of 2017 the last time Reading United lost a league match. They’ve played 22 games since then and not suffered a loss in league play.

The Philadelphia Union USL League Two affiliate continued their dominance in league play with a 1-0 win over Cedar Stars on Tuesday in a game that was delayed by weather. Philadelphia Union Academy grad Kalil ElMedkhar got the lone goal in the 16th minute and fellow academy grad Jahmali Waite recorded the clean sheet in goal.

ElMedkhar has a pair of goals on the season, both of the game-winning variety. That puts him second on the team behind United States youth international forward Simon Becher’s three.

As in past years, Reading’s squad is made up of some of the top college prospects in the country, which includes a core group of Union Academy grads like ElMedkhar, Waite, Jeremy Rafanello, Lamine Conte, Seth Kuhn and others.

The formula has been a successful one not only for players who have turned pro in the Union system like Bethlehem Steel midfielder Zach Zandi and first team veteran Ray Gaddis, but the dozens of alums who are competing in MLS and leagues in the U.S. and overseas.

With 12 out of 12 points to start the season, Reading has built a comfortable lead in the standings. Long Island Rough Riders are second with six points but have a game in hand and Lehigh Valley United is on six points after a 2-0 win over Ocean City Nor’easters on Wednesday night.

Lehigh Valley opened the scoring in the 10th minute when midfielder Steven Riad sent a ball into the box from about 25 yards out and found Cole Kropnick sliding in to put it past the Nor’easters goalkeeper. Beckham Sibiski doubled Lehigh’s valley in the 60th minute. The win was the second straight for Lehigh Valley after edging Evergreen FC 2-1 on the road over the weekend. Alexander Greene and Steven Bednarsky had the goals in that win.

The loss was the first of the season for Ocean City, which also has a win and a draw on the year. Their win came last week on the road at Long Island behind a brace from Deri Corfe, who had a 35-yard strike that was nominated for Goal of the Week. Claudio Repetto also had a goal from the penalty spot in that 3-1 win over Long Island. They opened the season with a 1-1 draw against FA Euro.

Reading United has the weekend off after dropping out of the Steinbrecher Cup competition in Milwaukee. USL League Two team FC United is taking their place in the four-team competition, which includes FC Motown, Flint City Bucks and Bavarian SC.

Lehigh Valley hosts FA Euro on Saturday at Cedar Crest College and Ocean City Nor’easters have their home opener against Evergreen FC at Carey Stadium on Saturday (both games kick off at 7 p.m.). Reading then travels to face Long Island on Wednesday, Lehigh Valley hosts NYRB U23s and Ocean City goes to Fairleigh Dickinson to take on Cedar Stars Rush.