Nothing went the way Reading United head coach Stephen Hogan expected to in its US Open Cup First Round match.
Five minutes into the game, the gameplan got ripped up as Hogan was forced to use his first substitution. For the final 15 minutes, Reading had to deal with playing a man down.
Showing toughness that Reading looks for, it held on for a 1-0 win over Clarkstown SC Eagles Wednesday at Don Thomas Stadium. The win is the sixth straight in the opening round, giving Reading another Modern Era (1995-present) Open Cup record for an amateur team.
“We had to adapt,” Hogan said. “It was a well deserved 1-0 lead going into halftime. Just try to survive at the end.”
Frantzdy Pierrot scored the lone goal in the eighth minute of stoppage time in the first half. Pierrot headed in the rebound off his penalty kick that was saved by Clarkstown’s Robert Pellegrini. Pierrot drew the foul by receiving a long pass from Hugo Delhommelle, making a move around the Pellegrini who took him down.
“I hesitated a little bit, saw him going left but I still went that way,” Pierrot said. “It’s something I have to work on but I was able to react quick enough to score.”
The score would be all Reading needed as it held on down the stretch with a non-ideal lineup.
Jorge Guinovart played only five minutes of his Reading debut before leaving the field on a cart. Guinovart jumped for a ball in midfield and was fouled by Christopher Riordan making head-to-head contact.
“You never plan that,” Hogan said of the early substitution. “That changed the whole gameplan. I had one or two on the bench I wanted to get in at a certain time and I couldn’t do that.”
Coming in, Reading had only one training session as players are still arriving from colleges for the PDL season. Making matters more difficult, Aaron Molloy picked up his second yellow in the 76th minute just as Clarkstown started to increase its pressure.
Clarkstown’s best chance came in the 64th minute. Esad Mackic had the ball find his feet in a dangerous position on the right side of the box but the shot was deflected before it got to Reading’s Ben Beaury in goal to make the easy save.
Down a man, all Reading could do was hold on over the final 15 minutes. Clarkstown kept pushing but struggled to put any quality shots on net.
“Being a man down is difficult in any situation let alone the first game of the season,” Marco Micaletto said. “You get to a mental stage with this club where things like that don’t effect you.”
By advancing, Reading will host the New York Cosmos in the second round at a site yet to be determined.