Match preview: Back-to-back battles against affiliates with Wednesday's Reading match
Philadelphia Union at Reading United
What: Developmental affiliate club friendly; Tickets: purchase tickets
When: Wednesday, 7 p.m.; Where: Gurski Stadium, West Lawn, Pa. (click here for stadium directions)
For the first time in the five-year history of the Union, the club will square off against developmental affiliates on back-to-back nights.
Fresh off a 3-1 win in fourth round U.S. Open Cup play Tuesday night, the Union will bring a split squad to take on developmental affiliate, Reading United. The match, to be held at Wilson High School’s Gurski Stadium (7 p.m., purchase tickets), will be the fifth straight meeting between these two squads. The Union has had success in all four of the previous meetings.
Reading, which has become a breeding ground for Major League Soccer, with a host of current MLS players having spent time there, will find a few of its alums making a return in a Union uniform. The Union’s Ray Gaddis (2010-11), Andrew Wenger (2009-10), Aaron Wheeler (2009) and Leo Fernandes (2012) have all spent seasons with Reading.
Additionally, the match is a homecoming of sorts for Union interim manager Jim Curtin, who previously served as Reading’s head coach for its Super-20 side. Curtin, picked up his first win Tuesday and hopes to make it two in this tune-up match before fifth round play of U.S. Open Cup resumes on June 24 against the NASL’s New York Cosmos at PPL Park (7 p.m., purchase tickets).
“We have three games in 16 days and this is another that poses a tough test,” Curtin said. “Games like this give guys a great chance to play in a game scenario and for coaches it’s a great evaluator of both teams. We have a lot of work to do and a lot of things we can clean up and work on. For many of our players and coaches a game like this gives us the perfect opportunity to do just that.”
With many players from the Union system and under the guidance of first year head coach David Castellanos, Reading enters tonight’s friendly with an undefeated record in USL-PDL play (3-0-2, 11 points). Darius Madison, a former Union academy player and current forward at the University of Virginia leads Reading with four goals in five matches.
While these two wage battle on the pitch, off the field both the Union and Reading have teamed up to raise money and awareness in the battle against cancer; at tonight’s match, Reading will once again hold its jersey auction in memory of its founder Archie Moylan who passed after a bout with cancer in 2000. These match worn jerseys have been a hit and the proceeds from the auction have done a great deal in the fight to eradicate the disease.
For more information on tonight’s match and the benefit, log onto www.readingunitedac.com/
Contact Union digital editor Kerith Gabriel at email@example.com