The Reading United Men kicked off their 27th season vs. Lehigh Valley United on a chilly spring night at Moravian College. After a lackluster first half Reading warmed up and dominated the second half to salvage the road draw. Reading conceded first after a Collin Muller free kick in the 12th minute deflected off the Reading wall to spot the hosts a 1-0 lead. Sam Hershey (Lancaster PA, American University) created the best opportunity for Reading late in the first half with a stinging shot that was palmed away by LVU 'keeper Blake Koski.
A spirited halftime speech by Coach Casey Moore had the Reading squad fired up for the 2nd half where they came out and were able to dictate play and created numerous dangerous crosses and opportunities to level the match. Their hard work paid off in the 85' after a Maxi Correia (Auxere France, Reinhardt University) corner kick was flicked around in the LVU penalty area and it found the head of Man of the Match Sam Hershey who's 85' header secured the draw for Reading.
Head Coach Casey Moore reflected, "The game felt like a story of two halves. The first half, our tempo and pace of play was too slow. Defensively we were tentative, which didn't force LVU into making decisions. Second half everything changed, with better tempo and energy from our boys. We were much more aggressive with and without the ball. That allowed us to win the territory battle and keep pressure on LVU."
After the goal, Reading continued to pile on the pressure, forcing LVU into turnovers and defensive clearances. Reading held an 8-2 advantage in corner kicks, with six of them coming in the second half. Unfortunately, through regular time and the four minutes of stoppage time, Reading was unable to secure the winning goal.
Coach Moore continued, "It was great for us to find the equalizer and it felt like we had more goals coming. We'll look to build upon the positive play from the 2nd half leading into our Saturday match against Lonestar."
The men's team return to action on the road vs. Philadelphia Lonestar Saturday at 5PM at John Bartram HS, Philadelphia, PA. Their home opener is Saturday May 27 vs. West Chester United, 7PM at Alvernia University.