Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Reading United advances in U.S. Open Cup

Reading United AC, the Philadelphia Union's PDL affiliate, advanced to the second round of the U.S. Open Cup on Tuesday with a 2-1 win over New York Greek-American Atlas.

Reading United advances in U.S. Open Cup

Reading United AC, the Philadelphia Union's PDL affiliate, advanced to the second round of the U.S. Open Cup on Tuesday with a 2-1 win over New York Greek-American Atlas.

It was Reading's first ever victory in the tournament.

The game was played at Fleetwood Area High School in Fleetwood, Pa. It was suspended due to severe weather in the 66th minute, then resumed an hour and a quarter later.

I don't have a team sheet for the game, but I got the names of the Reading goal scorers and assist-providers. Since most of them have ties to the Philadelphia area, let's give them their due:

37': Goal scored by Pedro Ribeiro, Coastal Carolina/Belo Horizonte, Brazil; assist by Ryan Finley, Notre Dame/Lumberton, N.J./Rancocas Valley H.S.

55': Goal scored by Finley; assist by Steve Neumann, Georgetown/New Hope, Pa./Council Rock North.

The winning goal was originally credited to Olutolani Ibikunle (Wake Forest/Wynnewood, Pa./St. Joe's Prep), but it was changed at 12:25 a.m. Wednesday morning after an official review.

That was well past the Inquirer and Daily News' print deadlines, which is why it says in the papers that Ibikunle scored the winner.

New York's goal came in the 64th minute, in case you're wondering.

In the second round, Reading will play at the Charleston Battery of USL PRO, the third division. That game and all other second-round games will take place next Tuesday, May 22. Kickoff at famed Blackbaud Stadium is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

There were two other Open Cup first-round games involving local teams. The results were:

Long Island Rough Riders 2 at FC Sonic 0

The game was played at Whitehall High School in Whitehall, Pa. Sonic usually plays at Lehigh University's Ulrich Sports Complex in Bethlehem.

Long Island will play the Harrisburg City Islanders, the Union's USL PRO affiliate, at the Skyline Sports Complex on May 22 at 7:00 p.m.

Jersey Shore Boca 0 at Michigan Bucks 6

The game was game played at the Ultimate Soccer complex in Pontiac, Michigan. Jersey Shore is based at Ocean County College in Toms River, N.J.

Although all three games involving local teams went according to hierarchy of league, there were quite a few upsets elsewhere in the first round. Seven of the 16 games finished with a Premier Development League (fourth division) team losing to a team from a league below it - either the National Premier Soccer League or the U.S. Adult Soccer Association.

(I've gotten a number of questions about whether the NPSL is really below the PDL in the American soccer pyramid. Although the NPSL's technical level is above the USASA, the PDL is demonstrably better in organization, resources and prestige. I've asked a number of close observers of the tournament and it's clear to me that a NPSL team beating a PDL team is an upset.)

1. The Aegean Hawks of the USASA took down the Carolina Dynamo of the PDL, 3-1. There was quite a bit of drama late in the game. An old friend of mine, Aaron Stollar, was on site at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds, outside D.C. You can read his live-tweeting of the game here.

2. Orlando City Under-23s (the senior squad plays in the second-division North American Soccer League) lost at home to Jacksonville United of the NPSL, 2-1.

3. The Portland (Maine) Phoenix lost at home to the NPSL's Brooklyn Italians, 3-2. 

4. The Mississippi Bulldogs lost on the road to the NPSL's Georgia Revolution, 1-0, in extra time. Rest assured that the extra time was not played with alternating possessions starting from the 25-yard-line.

5. Real Colorado Foxes lost at home to the USASA's Kansas City Athletics, 3-1. Unfortunately, the game was not played at the Foxes' usual home, which happens to be called Shea Stadium. If it had been, the punchline would have been easy. Though the fact that a soccer team exists called the Kansas City Athletics might catch your attention anyway. 

6. The Kitsap Pumas, which play across Puget Sound from downtown Seattle, lost at home to Cal FC (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) of the USASA, 2-1. Cal's manager is former U.S. national team star Eric Wynalda, though he wasn't at the game - he's in Germany preparing for Fox's broadcast of the UEFA Champions League final. Make of that what you will.

7. Finally, in the upset that has the biggest immediate MLS ramifications, the Portland Timbers' Under-23s lost at JELD-WEN Field (yes, the senior team's home stadium) to PSA Elite (Irvine, Calif.) of the USASA, 3-1

Portland made a big deal of this game by billing it as a doubleheader with the senior team's game at Houston. That game was shown on the stadium video screen before the Open Cup match. It ended up as a scoreless draw. So much for a night's entertainment.

On the whole, the various Portlands combined 0-1-2 record on the night. Not good news if you're a seafood fan.

But while the coasts suffered, the heartland rejoiced. The night's best game was in Wisconsin, of all places on the soccer landscape.

The Des Moines Menace held off the NPSL's Milwaukee Bavarians on the road, 3-1 in extra time. As former Chicago Fire president Peter Wilt tweeted during the game, the night featured "3 red cards, 2 goals called back, 1 missed PK, 2 lightning delays, [and the] sprinklers [going] off" at the end of regulation.

Ah, the magic of cup competition.

There's a complete U.S. Open Cup bracket at TheCup.us, an unofficial site that does a great job channeling game updates into a live chat during each round. You can read the first round chat transcript here (and yes, I made a guest appearance).

For background on on all the local teams and the competition as a whole, check out this post I wrote earlier this month when the draw came out. 

The Union will enter the competition in the third round on March 29. As of the time I'm writing this, it's not yet known whether they'll host a game or not. That's in part because MLS teams cannot play against their minor-league affiliates. We should know later this week, though, so stay tuned. 

Jonathan Tannenwald Philly.com
About this blog
The Goalkeeper is your home for the latest news about the Philadelphia Union, Major League Soccer, U.S. national teams and the rest of the world's most popular sport. It's also a place for fans to gather and celebrate the culture of soccer and its unique place on the sports landscape.

Reach Jonathan at jtannenwald@phillynews.com or 215-854-2330.

Jonathan Tannenwald Philly.com
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