Elizabeth, NJ (July 13, 2017) – After clinching their ninth playoff berth in ten years, Reading United kept rolling towards the postseason with a 4-1 victory over Jersey Express. Four different scorers netted for Reading, who improved their record to 11-2-0 on the season, United have now won four straight against Jersey, by a combined 15-2 margin. With the victory, Reading kept pace in the chase for their second straight Mid Atlantic Division title, as they continue to chase current division leader New York Red Bulls U23 into the waning moments of the season.
It was a choppy start at Williams Field, with the teams duking it out in the middle of the field and exchanging fouls. Despite the slow pace during the first half, both teams had chances but failed to convert.
Aaron Molloy would change that in the 42nd minute. After Evan Finnegan’s corner from the right side was knocked out of the box by Jersey keeper Zach Adler,, Molloy uncorked a one-timer that went upper ninety to give Reading a 1-0 lead into the break. This was par for the course for the Irish midfielder,who has now scored seven goals this season with many from distance.
The lead would be extended in the 63rd minute by Pierrot, who netted his eighth in seven games. Superb build-up play by Marco Micaletto found halftime sub Jelani Pieters on the right flank. The University of North Carolina winger deposited his cross directly at the feet of Pierrot, who made no mistake going to the far post. The goal was Pierrot’s eight of the season, vaulting him back into the team lead.
Jersey would pull one back in the 75th minute, as Romario Pinto Goulart darted through United’s back line and rounded Reading’s Alex Bouillennec to tally Jersey’s first. Unfortunately, his celebration was deemed excessive after taking his jersey off, leading to his second yellow card of the match. His first came during an exchange in the 37th minute, where the Express forward embellished a slip and earned a caution for simulation.
Reading would pile onto Jersey’s misfortune soon after. Mo Conde’s substitution in the 78th minute led to immediate dividends for United, as his cross from the left flank was nodded home by Khori Bennett in the 81st. Conde bagged one of his own in the 89th minute, as Finnegan whipped in a ball from the sideline, which Conde deposited into the back of the net for a 4-1 advantage. The goal was Conde’s second of the season, and first since his game winning goal against FA Euro New York on May 27th.
United’s final game of the PDL regular season is against local rival Lehigh Valley United on Saturday, July 15th at 7:30pm at J. Birney Crum Stadium in Allentown. Reading United will go for the season sweep against Lehigh Valley, as Reading won both meetings against Lehigh this season, outscoring LVU 5-1. Reading’s first playoff match will be held on Tuesday, July 18th at a place and time to be determined.