READING, PA (May 16, 2018) – The U.S. Open Cup can break your heart.
After once again overcoming a first half deficit at home with a valiant second half rally, Reading United A.C. fell to the Richmond Kickers, 4-3 in a penalty kick shootout after finishing 1-1 following extra time on a rain soaked evening at Alvernia University Stadium.
United found themselves in a hole just eight minutes into the match. Reading goalkeeper Bennett Strutz did well to get down and block a low shot by the Kickers’ Heviel Cordoves but the rebound fell at the feet of Koby Osei-Wasu who tapped the ball home to stake the visitors to an early 1-0 lead.
Reading rallied after conceding the opener, pinning their professional opposition deep in their half. With Richmond bunkered in United could make the most of their five shots in the opening 45 minutes.
United would press the Kickers and would finally make all their chances payoff off in the 70th minute. Substitute midfielder Austin Maloney made a darting run from the right flank and picked out Khori Bennett inside the penalty area. The Reading United veteran, who had a match high seven shots, flicked a low ball under Richmond goalkeeper Trevor Spangenburg to tie the match at 1-1.
Though Reading held a massive 15-5 advantage in shots, the game was knotted at 1-1 sending the match to extra time.
In extra time, United laid siege to the Richmond backline, putting the pro side under immense pressure. The tension climaxed as a scuffled flaired up following a 50/50 challenge near midfield. Richmond’s Oscar Umar punched United captain Aaron Molloy in the face as words were exchanged. The referee issued Umar his marching orders after consulting with his linesman.
Reading nearly capitalized moments later when Alex Lipinsky beat his defender and smashed a shot off the right post, denying the home side a dramatic winner.
The lottery of the penalty shootout beckoned for the second straight Open Cup match. United looked to have the advantage as Strutz save Mekeil Williams spot kick. The advantage was erased when Spangenburg saved Alex Lipinski’s effort on the very next shot. Bennett was Reading’s final shooter and the United veteran took a long run up but his stinging effort was well saved by Spangenburg ending the match and sending the Kickers to an Open Cup Third Round match against Penn FC.
Reading United will return to action this weekend when they travel to Leesburg, Virginia to face the Virginia Hammers. United make their 2018 debut at Wilson’s High School’s Gurski Stadium for the Premier Development League home opener against F.A. Euro on Saturday, May 26th. Kickoff for the home opener is scheduled for 7:00pm and tickets are available at www.readingunitedac.com/tickets.
READING UNITED LINE-UP
GK - Bennet Strutz; DEF - Rob Campbell, Will Campbell, Lamine Conte, Daniel Krutzen; MID - Aaron Molloy, Zach Zandi (Mo Conde 91'), Sebastian Hauret (Alex Lipinski 76'); FWD- Khori Bennett, Gilbert Waso, Kieran Roberts (Austin Maloney 60')