Photo: Glenn Riegel | www.GRiegelPhoto.com
Reading United AC has had a heartbreaking track record in the U.S. Open Cup in recent years.
Losing a late lead to Harrisburg last year. Falling in double overtime to Real Maryland FC in 2010. In five years, Reading United has suffered five losses in the U.S. Open Cup.
However, this year is different.
Despite playing in just its second game of 2012, the United got a goal and an assist from Ryan Finley and a clutch stop in stoppage time by goalkeeper Emmanuel Martin to defeat the USASA’s New York Greek American Atlas SC 2-1 on a rainy night at Fleetwood’s Ray Bus Stadium Tuesday night.
The win puts the United, the Philadelphia Union’s PDL affiliate, into the U.S. Open Cup’s Second Round, sending them to Blackbaud Stadium in South Carolina to face USL PRO’s Charleston Battery May 22, sandwiched three days before and after league games.
Finley set up the first United goal in the 37th minute, as a cross found Pedro Ribeiro, who slid his shot into the net for a 1-0 lead.
Finley struck for the second goal in the 55th minute, finishing a Steven Neumann free kick after former Philadelphia Union defender Christian Arrieta was booked for New York.
New York cut the lead in half in the 64th minute on a goal from Stephen Roche, assisted by Paul Shaw.
Two minutes later, the match was delayed by an hour and 15 minutes due to severe weather.
After the restart, New York nearly broke through, but Martin’s diving save at the end ensured that United would advance in the tournament for the first time in team history.
United, 0-0-1 in the PDL after a 1-1 tie with the New Jersey Rangers, will resume league play May 19 against the Long Island Rough Riders, another U.S. Open Cup first round winner.
The winner of the United-Battery match will face a yet-to-be-determined Major League Soccer team.