Alum C.J. Sapong in action vs. D.C. United. Sapong would score his 39th career goal in the second half of the match. (Photo Credit: Trey Madara/TM3Media)
Though it was April Fools' Day weekend, Reading United alums weren't fooling out on the pitch over the course of a busy weekend of soccer across the country. Six former Reading stars found the back of the net for the pro clubs in an impressive offensive outburst.
Making his professional debut, Philadelphia native Darius Madison wasted no time impressing his new teammates by recording the first goal of his young pro career. The former Reading United forward got the Rochester Rhinos on the board in the 9th minute when he collected a ball near the top of the penalty and hit a sweet strike to the far post that beat Bethlehem Steel goalkeeper Tomas Romero.
Fellow alums Damion Lowe and Deshorn Brown helped USL newcomers Tampa Bay Rowdies romp over Toronto FC II by a 4-0 scoreline. Lowe opened the scoring for the Rowdies, scoring on a powerful header in the 12th minute. Brown, who recently returned to the United States after stints in Norway and China, capped the scoring for the Rowdies in the 70th minute. The Jamaican international tapped home a sublime cross from teammate Georgi Hristov to tally his first goal of 2017.
In snowy Colorado Springs, alum Alex Dixon pounced on a ball bouncing in the penalty area in the 26th minute and lashed it past the Switchbacks goalkeeper to help the Oklahoma City Energy earn a 1-1 draw on the road.
In Major League Soccer action, C.J. Sapong did his best to haul the Philadelphia Union back from a two goal deficit in the nation's capital. D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid parried a strong effort by Alejandro Bedoya, but Sapong was in good position to smash the rebound into the back of the net to draw the Union within a goal at RFK Stadium. Despite a strong second half showing, the Union fell to D.C. United, 2-1. An All-PDL Eastern Conference selection for Reading in 2010, Sapong leads all United alums with 39 career MLS goals.
Luke Mulholland, a teammate of Sapong on Reading's 2010 squad, scored his first goal of the season in the 4th minute of Real Salt Lake's 4-2 loss to MLS newbies Minnesota United. The Englishman collected a poor clearance and hit a cracking right footed strike past Loons goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth. Mulholland now has 14 career MLS goals and 40 total goals over his pro career with Real Salt Lake, the Wilmington Hammerheads and the Tampa Bay Rowdies.
It wasn't just the former Reading United goal scorers that had all the fun this weekend. Toronto FC goalkeeper Alex Bono, a member of Reading's 2013 and 2014 squads, came off the bench to replace injured starter Clint Irwin in the 37th minute. Bono proceeded to help Reds preserve a clean sheet by making three big saves as the defending Eastern Conference Champions held high-scoring Sporting Kansas City to a 0-0 draw.
ONE LAST THING
If you haven't seen it yet, United alum and Sporting Kansas City rookie Colton Storm was at the center of a pretty epic April Fools' Day prank. You can watch this classic piece of mischief HERE!