Monday, June 11, 2012

Union take annual friendly with Reading United

READING, Pa. – In a game that featured a little bit of everything, it was the Philadelphia Union who found things swinging their way in the end, with a win over player development partner Reading United by a final score of 3-2.

The Union, who controlled the run of play for the majority of the first half, wasted no time in lighting up the scoreboard.  A floating cross from the left side by Cristhian Hernandez found Chandler Hoffman just inside the box, who pounded it past Reading keeper Emmanuel Martin in the 8th minute for a 1-0 advantage.

Hernandez gave one back to the United in the 33rd minute, as his attempt to chest-trap a loose ball inside the box skimmed off his shoulder.  Reading’s Ryan Finley chose wisely on the penalty attempt, beating Philadelphia keeper Chris Konopka to the lower right side to knot the game at 1-1.

The Union’s Roger Torres, in his first live action since spraining his MCL, found himself at the penalty stripe in the 39th minute, after a hard challenge near the end line by Greg Cochrane handed Philadelphia a golden opportunity to retake the lead.  Aiming for the same low right corner as Finley six minutes prior, Reading’s Martin snuffed out the shot to keep the game squared at one going into the half.

Philadelphia would take the lead for good in the 57th minute, after a free kick from Jack McInerney from 25 yards out bent around the United wall past Reading’s Keasel Broome for a 2-1 lead.

An United own goal in the 74th would prove to be the game winner for the Union, as Reading’s Tyler Newnam attempted to clear the box on a cross, and instead blasted it into his own net for a 3-1 Union advantage.

Reading would take one back in the 79th on a Paul Wyatt blast from 15 yards away, but it would prove to be too little, too late for the United in the 3-2 loss.

“I thought it was a very good game for both teams,” said United head coach Brendan Burke.  “Our guys got a little worked up and chippy during the run of play, but I think it’s only natural when these players are trying to impress the first team coaches (of the Union).”

For both Reading and Philadelphia, the final result is secondary to that opportunity that takes place out on the pitch.  For the United, it’s a measuring stick for the players who want to reach the MLS level in the next few years.  For the Union, it’s an opportunity to see college players in a professional environment.

The Union return to play Tuesday against Harrisburg City Islanders at Hershey Park Stadium in a friendly match that is a precursor to the next round of Lamar Hunt U.S Open Cup on June 26 at PPL Park.
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