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Week of May 27 Preview

By Art Auchenbach, 05/26/24, 3:00PM EDT


Weekend Recap & Week of May 27 Preview

May 24 Women's Game Recap

Memorial Day weekend featured both Reading teams in action.  The women’s team made their 2024 home debut Friday night May 24 as they hosted WPSL newcomers LVU Rush.  Haley Gschrey opened her home goalscoring account in the 10th minute with a well placed header from a Natalee Vicari cross to give Reading their first lead of the game.  However LVU Rush showed plenty of poise and the first half was very evenly played, with the visitors outshooting Reading 9-5 in the first half.  LVU’s persistence paid off in the 42nd minute when a Camryn Williams followup from an Autum Monty parried save evened up the score headed into halftime. 

The second half was a different story as Reading responded immediately after the break with a daring diving header goal by captain Becca Kotula off of an Ashley Lavrich assist put Reading up 2-1 and they didn’t look back from there.  In the 59th minute Kotula became the provider for a goal by Asley Lavrich for a 3-1 lead.  However Lavrich wasn’t finished.  Only 7 minutes later she completed a spectacular individual effort for her 2nd goal and a 4-1 Reading lead.  As LVU was pushing for a way back into  the game, in the 90th minute Natalee Vicari finished a beautiful Mikayla Moyer cross for a 5-1 Reading win.  With four goals in the 2nd half Reading showed they likely should be considered a top contender in the WPSL Mid Atlantic Division’s Commonwealth conference.  For her two goals and assist on the night Ashley Lavrich was named the Woman of the Match.  The high school senior who hasn’t graduated high school yet,  finished her first week in Reading United colors with a dominating WPSL performance consisting of three goals and two assists in the Reading victories over Hershey and LVU Rush.  With the win, Reading remain in first place in the Commonwealth Division of the Mid Atlantic Conference.

May 25 Men's Game Recap
With a week to prepare for their second game, the Reading United men made the short trip to West Chester to face local rivals West Chester United in their 2nd USL League Two match of the season.  As expected Reading looked to possess the ball and avoid the trademark stingy defense and counterattack that West Chester is known for.  Most of the first half was a back and forth affair with both sides struggling to maintain possession or get a decent shot on target.  In the 23rd minute West Chester’s defense launched a quick long ball forward to Josh Luccini who split the Reading defense and placed his shot past a helpless Jason Smith for a 1-0 lead.  Reading pressed West Chester outshooting them in the first half and maintaining possession but created no clear opportunities on goal and went into halftime trailing 1-0.

A rash challenge in the 57th minute by West Chester on Sam Hershey afforded the visitors a well earned penalty kick that was cooly deposited by Hershey to level the score 1-1.  However only 10 minutes later some slack Reading defending afforded West Chester’s Ndeh Tima a clear opening to easily score and give the hosts a 2-1 lead.  

The last 20 minutes of regulation and six minutes of stoppage time had Reading providing consistent pressure on the West Chester back line but all chances went begging as Reading was unable to secure any road points against a team they played three times last year, drawing two, and winning one.  With the loss Reading sits in a three way tie for third place in the division.

Week of May 27 Preview
The week of May 27-June 2 features three Reading United games – all at home.  The men welcome their feisty friends from the city of brotherly love, when Philadelphia LoneStar come to Reading on Wednesday May 29 at 7PM for the men’s home opener.  Hopefully the only thing that is hot is the weather as last year’s July 1 Reading win unfortunately featured several LoneStar players and coaches being ejected due to violent conduct.  Lonestar have already played four games on the USL2 season and have a record of 1 win, 2 losses, 1 draw.  The theme is Retro Night where Reading fans are encouraged to wear their old Reading United (Reading Rage if you have them) gear.

Friday night May 31 features the Reading United women hosting Hex FC Tempest, a new team that was formed by the merger of the former Lehigh Valley Tempest with HEX FC youth soccer club.  It will be the first game of the year for Hex FC Tempest.  The Reading United women will be looking to continue their hot start to the season at home and hopefully taking advantage of the quick turnaround for Hex FC Tempest as they host LVU Rush the night before.

Saturday night June 1 the men return to action to face off against Real Central NJ.  Real Central NJ has had a mixed start to the season losing 4-0 to Philadelphia Lone Star in their season opener and squeaking by Lehigh Valley United Rush in their home opener.   The 2023 campaign had the teams face each other three times (due to unbalanced league schedule) with Reading winning two and tying one.

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