READING, PA (May 25, 2019) – Reading United A.C. returned to the friendly confines of Wilson High School’s John Gurski Stadium for their 2019 regular season home opener and earned a workmanlike 3-0 victory over visiting FA Euro in USL League Two action. Goals from Alec McKinley, Will Baynham and Simon Becher helped Reading secure a third straight win to open the 2019 campaign and the club’s 21st consecutive regular season win.
United fans did not have to wait long to celebrate with their hometown team. In the 4th minute of the match, FA Euro botched an effort to clear their defensive zone. The ball landed at the feet of Reading midfielder Alec McKinley, who shimmied past two FA Euro defenders and lobbed the ball past goalkeeper Jason Belfon from 30 yards to stake United to an early 1-0 lead.
Belfon found himself picking the ball out of the back of the net again midway through the first half. The hosts were awarded a free kick 34 yards from goal. Reading midfielder Deniz Dogan chipped the free kick into a dangerous area and found the forehand of forward Will Baynham. The towering Australian looped his headed effort beyond Belfon and just under the crossbar to extend Reading’s lead to 2-0.
The visitors tried to claw their way back into the match in the waning minutes of the first half. Reading goalkeeper Jahmali Waite, who posted five saves in the match to earn the clean sheet, made his best stop of the night in the 41st minute to deny a blistering effort by FA Euro’s DeAndre Gordon.
The defending Eastern Conference Champions put the game out of reach in the game’s 60th minute. Penn State standout Jeremy Rafanello led a Reading United counterattack down the left flank. Rafanello whipped in a low cross that picked out Simon Becher. Becher, a United States Under-20 national team forward, eluded his defender and fired home his team leading third goal of the season to stretch United’s lead to 3-0.
With the win, Reading United move to the top of the USL League Two Mid-Atlantic Division standings, earning all nine points on offer through the first three matches of the 2019 campaign.
The scoreline may have flattered Reading, but Head Coach Alan McCann knows there is much work to be done as the season begins to heat up. He pulled no punches following his side’s win saying, “It was ugly. It wasn’t what we wanted. Yes, we got the result, but the performance… We’ve given some lads opportunities to test them out, put some lads in positions they’ve probably never played before. Some of them did well, some of them not and we need to go back and look at the video. When we’re going up against Cedar Stars on Tuesday, we’ve got to be a lot better.”
Reading United will travel to New Jersey for their first ever-meeting with USL League Two newbies Cedar Stars Rush on Tuesday, May 28th. United will return home Saturday, June 8th for a clash with Evergreen FC.
RUAC - Alec McKinley - 4'
RUAC - Will Baynham (Deniz Dogan) - 28'
RUAC - Simon Becher (Jeremy Rafanell0) - 60'
READING UNITED LINE-UP
GK Jahmali Waite; DEF Adrien Awana (Lamine Conte 60'), Ivan Blaskic, Brandon Hackenberg, Richie Schlentz; MID Kalil El Medkhar (Rok Taneski 83'), Deniz Dogan, Alec McKinley (Sergio Pinto 74'), Joao Delgado (Seth Kuhn 74'); FWD Will Baynham (Simon Becher 31'), Jeremy Rafanello (Ntsabeleng Katlego 61')