Reading United A.C. are set to play the 2012 National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) Champions FC Lehigh Valley United Sonic in the first round of the 100th edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Tuesday, May 14th. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00pm. The match will be played at Oley Valley High School’s soccer field located in historic Oley, Pennsylvania. This will be Reading United’s amateur team record setting fifth consecutive appearance in the nation’s oldest national soccer competition.
Reading won their first U.S. Open Cup match last year, defeating New York Greek American Atlas 2-1 to advance to the second round of the competition for the first time. United were eliminated in the next round by the 2012 USL-Pro Champions, the Charleston Battery by a 2-1 score line. United will be looking to improve on their all-time U.S. Open Cup record of one win and six losses as they prepare for this year’s cup run. Progressing out of the first round will not be an easy task, FC Lehigh Valley Sonic are a formidable opponent.
Reading United Head Coach Brendan Burke acknowledged Lehigh Valley United’s experience and is aware of the challenge the NPSL Champions pose to United. “Our opponent this year is a mixture of more than a few ex-pro players like Matt Baker, who was excellent here in Reading and in Pittsburgh, Andy Adlard who played for the Crew and others, so it’s not really an amateur team that we are playing. We are aware of that and will respect that fact going into the game”
FC Lehigh Valley United Sonic was founded in 2009 and is based in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The club is made up of local college players and other with soccer roots in the Lehigh Valley. Sonic finished the 2012 season with a record of 14-1-1 and defeated Chattanooga FC to win the NPSL title.
“We’re thrilled to be hosting this record setting U.S. Open Cup game in Reading. It is a testament to the hard work of head coach Brendan Burke, our players, and staff to create an organization and teams that have managed to qualify for the US Open Cup five straight years. We look forward to the matchup against the strongest NPSL team in the nation. Both teams will represent the blue collar mentality of their cities, and the great history of soccer in eastern Pennsylvania” outlined Reading President Art Auchenbach, when told of the draw against their NPSL neighbors.
Burke echoed Auchenbach sentiments. “The fact that we have reached the Open Cup for five years running is a testament to all of the hard work that everyone involved in our program, from ownership to interns, have put in since we took over in 2008.”
Burke also saluted the many United alumni who have played for Reading over the years. “Most of the credit goes to the quality of players that have come through Reading though, they are a real source of pride for me and for the club and the Open Cup record is just another reminder of how fortunate we have been in Reading over the past five seasons.”
Reading will be hosting the Cup game at Oley Valley H.S. due to a scheduling conflict with their 2013 home field at Exeter. However, Reading has trained at five different facilities this season and the field at Oley will not seem too foreign to Reading players and staff. Coaches Brendan Burke and Ged Quinn and team captain Steve Neumann battled a strong Ocean City side two years ago at the scenic Oley Valley H.S. stadium in a memorable win capped by goals from the former UVA trio of Will Bates (now with Seattle Sounders), Brian Ownby (Houston Dynamo/Richmond Kickers) and Brian ‘Cobi’ Span (Djurgardens IF).
Teams from the third, fourth and fifth tiers of the U.S. Soccer pyramid contest the first round of the U.S. Open Cup. Most professional teams enter the competition in the second round, with MLS clubs entering in the third round. Last season, Sporting Kansas City defeated Seattle Sounders FC to win the 2012 U.S. Open Cup title.
Reading United kick off their 2013 PDL campaign on May 11 at 7:00PM against the Westchester Flames. Tickets are available at www.readingunitedac.com. Reading United offer 2013 Game Day Youth Packages, Group Discount Packages, Birthday Parties and Fundraising Ticket Packages. Contact Denise Strohmayr at firstname.lastname@example.org for all your group needs.