READING, PA (July 9, 2017) – Reading United A.C. closed out their final regular season home match of the season with the team’s most dominant showing in 2017 as United thrashed the visiting Jersey Express by a final score of 5-0 at Exeter High School’s Don Thomas Stadium. Frantzdy Pierrot’s hat-trick highlighted an excellent all-around performance which also included the team’s sixth shutout of the season. With the win, Reading United booked their place in the Premier Development League playoffs for the ninth time in ten seasons.
United seized control of the match from the opening kick, immediately putting the Express under pressure. That pressure paid off in the 12th minute as Jelani Pieters controlled a flick on from Pierrot and sent a curling ball into the top corner of the goal for his first goal of the season.
Aaron Molloy began a sequence that led to Reading’s second goal when he forced a turnover and sprung Marco Micaletto. The English midfielder played a quick one-two pass with Pierrot to find acres of space down the right wing. Micaletto looped a ball over the top that Pierrot settled while avoiding an Express defender and flicked his shot under the crossbar for his first goal of the night.
Nine minutes later, the combination of Molloy, Micaletto and Pierrot would strike again. The Irish midfielder, rated as the PDL’s 33rd best prospect in the nation, sent a long cutting pass to the feet of Micaletto. The Young Harris College star sent a low cross that Pierrot controlled as he outmuscled Jersey defender Guy Serge Ballo. The big Haitian forward then hit a laser past Jersey goalkeeper Justin Saliba’s near post for his second goal of the game and sixth goal of the season.
Pierrot would complete his second hat-trick of the season in the 40th minute. United defender Evan Finnegan found himself in acres of space on the left wing as he collected a long diagonal pass from Molloy. The Irishman got the ball under control and unleashed a cross to Pierrot, who headed his initial effort straight at Saliba. The Express keeper only managed to parry the effort and Pierrot easily tapped the ball home to earn the hat-trick and push United out to a 4-0 lead just before halftime. Pierrot now leads United with seven goals this season.
Following the halftime break, United continued to pound away at the Express. The hosts had a catalog of chances to score even more goals, outshooting Jersey 10-5 in the second half, but a combination of unlucky finishing and some solid goalkeeping by Saliba kept the game from being even more lopsided.
United would grab a late goal through forward Ivan Abramovic in the 82nd minute. Khori Bennett fired a shot that Saliba did well to save but the rebound fell to Abramovic who danced around defenders before cracking a low shot just inside the post to extend Reading’s lead to 5-0.
The referee’s final whistle put the Express out of their misery and sent Reading back to the PDL Playoffs. United’s defense pitched their second consecutive shutout, which was their sixth of the campaign.
“We came out flying and moved the ball better than what we did the last game against Lehigh Valley and took control of the game straightaway. The players understand the importance of the game and they do understand the importance of the next two games,” said Reading Head Coach Stephen Hogan of his side’s performance. “It was a good start, a fast start is what we wanted and we’ve been talking about it in training and they came through tonight.”
Reading close out the 2017 PDL regular season with two matches on the road. United will travel to Newark, New Jersey for a rematch with the Express on Wednesday, July 12th before traveling to Allentown to face Lehigh Valley United for the match of the season. Fans are encouraged to follow Reading United’s social media accounts for updates on upcoming playoff matches.
READING UNITED LINE-UP
GK - Alex Bouillennec; DEF - Evan Finnegan, Nathan Brown, Lamine Conte, Paul Marie; MID - Aaron Molloy (Joey Dezart 83'), Jakov Basic (Hugo Delhommelle 46'), Marco Micaletto (Ivan Abramovic 63'); FWD - Jelani Pieters (Austin Maloney 67'), Frantzdy Pierrot (Khori Bennett 75'), Gilbert Waso
RUAC - Jelani Pieters (Frantzdy Pierrot) - 12'
RUAC - Frantzdy Pierrot (Marco Micaletto) - 26'
RUAC - Frantzdy Pierrot (Marco Micaletto) - 35'
RUAC - Frantzdy Pierrot - 40'
RUAC - Ivan Abramovic - 83'