WAO: Reading

Led by two goals from former Philadelphia Union Academy prospect Jeremy Rafanello, Reading United knocked off Philadelphia Lone Start in the opening round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

The victory marked the eighth straight season that the Union's USL League Two has won in the U.S. Open Cup, the longest current streak from a non-professional side.

With the team coming together just days prior to the match and only two training sessions with head coach Alan McCann, United showed their promising talent to pull out the result. After settling into the contest, Reading's strong two-minute span proved the difference as Rafanello opened the scoring in the 18th minute of play after collecting a pass at the edge of the box and rifling a right-foot shot inside the post.

With the opening goal in their favor, Reading United quickly pounced on another opportunity as forward Felipe Hideki was taken down in the box two minutes later. After the referee's whistle, Rafanello bagged the brace to put the club up 2-0.

Philadelphia Lone Star battled back in the match with a goal in the 68th minute but saw their first attempt at a tying goal denied by a timely offsides trap in the 82nd minute. Seconds later goalkeeper Tor Erik Larsen kept the match in Reading's favor with a spectacular stop to deny a possible goal headed for the upper corner. The momentum returned in favor of the hosts when Lone Star was reduced to 10 after a second yellow card and allowed Reading United to see out the match.

Reading United opens league play on the road at regional rival Lehigh Valley United on Saturday, May 11th. The development side will then travel to face two-time defending USL Championship side Louisville City FC on Wednesday, May 15th. Kick off from Lynn Stadium is set for 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN+.