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FRIENDLY WIN: Wenger goal lifts Union over Reading United
READING, Pa. – Andrew Wenger handled the scoring and John McCarthy returned to the Philadelphia Union goal for Tuesday's 1-0 friendly win over Reading United AC at Exeter High School's Don Thomas Stadium.
With the Union on an MLS bye this week, coach Jim Curtin rolled out a largely first-choice lineup against his team's PDL affiliate. Wenger, a Reading alumnus, was in the right place at the right time to put the Union on the board, volleying the ball into the net in the 49th minute, after netminder Mitchell Auer misplayed a cross in front of the goal.
Reading forward Brett Campbell, a Philadelphia Union academy graduate, nearly opened the scoring in the fourth minute, only to be denied by McCarthy. At the opposite end of the pitch, United alums Sapong and Andrew Wenger nearly combined to hand the Union a lead just four minutes later, but neither team was able to score before the intermission.
Reading would put pressure on their professional partners, but in the end, Wenger’s goal was all the scoring the Union needed. The match finished 1-0 to Philadelphia, giving the Union its fifth friendly win over their player development partners.
After the match, former United star C.J. Sapong took a moment to reflect on his return to Reading as a professional soccer player. “This brings back a lot of memories. It was interesting to be on the other side of the friendly. I remember playing against the Union and I wanted to show well then and I can see that desire carrying on with the Reading players. Overall, this gives me a chance to reflect on how far I’ve come, to see how the building blocks for my career began in Reading.”
McCarthy, who has been sidelined with concussion symptoms, echoed Sapong’s sentiments on his return to Reading. “It’s a good event. It’s nice to be able to come back and give back to the team that’s given so much to me. That’s what it’s all about.” He continued, “It was a good game that could’ve gone either way. I think we put on a good show and so did Reading, so it was nice.”
Reading Head Coach David Castellanos was upbeat after his side’s performance against the Philadelphia Union. “I thought our boys did well. This was a match to see some other guys on the roster that haven’t gotten much time in league play and they showed us what they can do. Overall, I was pleased with the match.” When asked how his squad can use the lessons from the friendly, Castellanos said, “I think it’s the small details. We’re close and you can see it with some of the possession we had, but it’s the little details like defending in the box, getting set quickly, communicating, movement off the ball, those nuisances that make a college player into a professional player is what I hope our guys saw today and take away from the game.”