Photo: Glenn Riegel/Reading United
Dominant. Commanding. Powerful. Supreme.
Pick the superlative and it may not be good enough to describe Reading United’s performance on Saturday night. The Philadelphia Union player development partner opened their 2013 Premier Development League campaign with a thoroughly dominant showing, defeating the Westchester Flames by an 8-0 scoreline.
United entertained their fans with the team’s most lopsided win since July 17th, 2009 when Reading scored eight goals against the Virginia Legacy. The win also serves notice to Reading’s Mid-Atlantic Division rivals: This Reading team has a deep, talented roster with big ambitions.
Mario Pinto Neto recorded United’s first hat-trick since Deshorn Brown tallied three goals against Westchester last July. Manolo Sanchez recorded a two goals and an assist to help Reading start the season with a bang.
United were in the ascendancy from the opening kick, pressing the Flames defense just seconds into the match. Were it not for some nervy finishing in the opening minutes, Reading could have had three goals in the opening ten minutes of the match.
After creating numerous chances in the first quarter hour of the match, United finally found the opening goal in the 17th minute. Mario Pinto Neto got his head to a ball that was bouncing inside the eighteen yard box and buried it into the back of the net. Not taking their foot of the gas pedal, Reading continued pressing for more goals.
United’s second goal of the evening was highlight reel material. With United attacking down the right side of the field in the 30th minute, right back Wes Charpie flicked a ball toward Larry Njdock. The German forward struck a thunderous left footed volleyed shot that Westchester keeper Brian McPartlaud was helpless to stop to make it 2-0 to United.
Manolo Sanchez tallied a brace late in the first half to put United up 4-0. With standout left back Ben Sweat raiding down the left flank, Sanchez collected a pass from the USF defender and slotted home for his first in the 41st minute. Three minutes later, Sweat again turned provider and Sanchez buried his strike to stake United to a four goal advantage.
The Flames were simply unable to cope with the United’s unrelenting attack and rarely offered a threat going forward in the first half. United keeper John McCarthy was only asked to make one save on a night he was largely untroubled.
As a cool fog descended over Don Thomas Stadium, Associate Head Coach Ged Quinn made no changes to United’s lineup at halftime. Quinn was making his coaching debut for Reading as Head Coach Brendan Burke was with the Philadelphia Union in Chicago.
Quinn described his instructions to the squad at halftime, “Keep the intensity up. With Brendan, one of the things we’ve learned over the last five years is we don’t want to get into any bad habits. Although we knew the game wasn’t over at halftime, we certainly wanted to keep a clean sheet and bulid momentum.”
The players heeded their coach’s words, again putting Westchester on the back foot. In the 54th minute, United’s new captain Steve Neumann picked out Darius Madison streaking down the center of the field. The Union academy product coolly finished his chance to increase United’s lead to 5-0.
Pinto Neto got his second goal of the night just five minutes later, taking a ball from Njdock to give United a 6-0 lead.
Quinn began to ring the changes in the 60th minute replacing McCarthy in goal with All-Big East Rookie of the Year Alex Bono and swapping Madison for fellow Union Academy graduate Melvin Snoh. Westchester forward Dwayne Reid immediately tested Bono with the Flame’s best chance of the evening and the big goalkeeper did well to keep the them off the scoreboard.
Pinto Neto earned his hat-trick in the 66th minute when he one timed a shot into the back off the net off a Jason Plumhoff corner kick. The young Brazilian attacker played with amazing energy all night and earned Man of the Match honors.
Reflecting on his remarkable evening, Pinto Neto said, “That’s how I like to play, running all the time, trying to do my best to help the team.”
United capped the scoring in the 82nd minute. Plumhoff again hit a well lofted free kick and found Sweat streaking in at the far post who drove his header into the back of the net.
United captain Steve Neumann happily summed up the evening’s performance stating, “It’s a great way to start the year. We were all really excited to get out here and get the season started and you can tell by the performance out there. Overall, we’re very excited about the result.”
Coach Quinn was satisfied with United’s performance in his coaching debut. “Delighted with it. I think the boys put the work in. There’s still a lot of things to work on, even though we got the 8-0 result. For the boys to come out and start as quickly as they did tonight and get a few goals early, certainly settled the nerves on the field and helped us on the sideline as well.”
Reading will carry a tremendous amount of confidence heading into their U.S. Open Cup match against the 2012 NPSL Champions, FC Lehigh Valley United Sonic. Reading will make their amateur team record sixth consecutive appearance in the Open Cup on Tuesday evening at Oley Valley High School with kickoff scheduled for 7:00pm.
17′ – RU: Mario Pinto Neto (Manolo Sanchez)
30′ – RU: Larry Ndjock (Wes Charpie)
41′ – RU: Manolo Sanchez (Ben Sweat)
44′ – RU : Manolo Sanchez (Ben Sweat)
54′ – RU: Darius Madison (Steve Neumann)
59′ – RU: Mario Pinto Neto (Larry Ndjock)
66′ – RU: Mario Pinto Neto (Jason Plumhoff)
82′ – RU: Ben Sweat (Jason Plumhoff)
John McCarthy (Alex Bono 60′); Wes Charpie (Shane Campbell 82′), Jonny Dolezal, Patrick Slogic, Ben Sweat; Jason Plumhoff, Darius Madison (Melvin Snoh 60′), Manolo Sanchez (Stephen Baker 78′), Steve Neumann (Dante Marini 62′); Mario Pinto Neto, Larry Ndjock (Bryce Follensbee 71′)
Unused Substitute: Jimmy Ockford