READING, PA (July 16, 2017) – Reading United A.C. closed out the 2017 Premier Development League regular season in the same manner they began the season back in May, with a win over local rivals Lehigh Valley United. At Allentown’s historic J. Birney Crum Stadium, Reading used a 75th minute goal by Frantzdy Pierrot to edge past a dogged Lehigh Valley squad by a 1-0 final. With the win, Reading United secured second place in the Mid-Atlantic Division and will head back to the PDL Playoffs for the second consecutive season and ninth time in ten seasons.
The hosts gifted Reading a golden opportunity in the 13th minute when Lehigh Valley goalkeeper Cameron Keys handled the ball outside of his penalty area as he rushed off his line to deny Frantzdy Pierrot a breakaway on goal. Keys was shown a straight red card and Lehigh Valley had to play the final 77 minutes of the match down a man.
Reading weren’t able to put their hosts to the sword as Lehigh Valley United employed a high press to disrupt Reading United’s build up play throughout the match. Though Reading had a handful of opportunities to open the scoring in the first half, the ball never found it’s way into the back of the Lehigh Valley net as the sides went into halftime deadlocked at 0-0.
The breakthrough Reading were looking for finally arrived in the 75th minute of the match. Second half substitute Tapfuma DiMairo raced past his mark in the right channel and sent a perfect cross into the penalty area that Pierrot guided into the back of the net with easy to stake Reading to a 1-0 lead. It was Pierrot’s team leading ninth goal of the season and his 11th in all competitions in 2017.
Lehigh Valley would not go quietly and heaped pressure on the Reading defense in the closing minutes of the match. The PDL Eastern Conference’s best defense absorbed everything that Lehigh Valley threw at them to help Reading United close out a hard fought 1-0 road victory. It was the defense’s seventh shutout of the season in league play as Reading finished the 2017 campaign conceding just 10 goals over 14 matches.
The win was Reading’s 12th victory of the season, the most since 2011 when United won 12 matches over a 16 game season. Reading United finished tied with the New York Red Bulls U23s and the Oklahoma City Energy U23s for the most wins in the league this season.
United will now move on to the PDL Playoffs where they will travel up to New Hampshire to face the Seacoast United Phantoms, the Northeast Division Champions, in the first round of the postseason. The match is set to be played on Tuesday, July 18th at Amesbury Sports Park.
READING UNITED LINEUP
GK - Alex Bouillennec (Justin Saliba 46'); DEF - Jakov Basic, Kaelon Fox (Nathan Brown 65'), Lamine Conte, Paul Marie (Khori Bennett 71'); MID Aaron Molloy, Marco Micaletto, Pablo Aguillar (Zach Zandi 46'); FWD - Jelani Pieters (Tapfuma DiMairo 62'), Frantzdy Pierrot, Evan Finnegan
RUAC - Frantzdy Pierrot (Tapfuma DiMairo) 75'