The Reading Rage got its season off to a fine start, exacting some revenge on the Virginia Legacy with a 2-1 victory Wednesday, May 16, at Don Thomas Stadium at Exeter High School.Less than 15 minutes into the second frame, Ephrata High School product A.J. Kulp took a short pass from substitute striker Jimmy Toranto and fired the game-winning goal past a diving Zak Thompson from about 20 yards.
The assist was the first point for Toranto as a Rage player and an encouraging sign for the improving Kulp, who showed flashes of brilliance last season.
Despite threatening skies and a late start to the match due to traffic problems for the Legacy, the Rage came out looking to push the action with an aggressive 4-5-1 line-up. Kulp, who had four shots on the night, probably should have scored early on after having his low drive tipped barely wide.
Midfielder Adam Hay was a pest the entire first half in an impressive debut and finally saw his efforts pay off when he made a long run down the right wing, cut inside to improve the angle and smashed a bullet to the upper corner to give his side a 1-0 lead.
Before any real rhythm could be established after the goal, the Legacy was able to tie the contest through midfielder Dan Lader. The Legacy were dispossessed near the Rage penalty area when lader pounced on a turnover and lauched a quick shot passed surprised Reading goalkeeper Jeremy Vuolo.
Later in the game the youngster Vuolo had to be helped from the field with an apparent leg injury as a result of a goalmouth collision with Virginia midfielder Lokahi Bounds.
Penn State goalkeeper Liam Fitzwater was impressive in his rookie debut, even with no warm-up as substitute early in the second half. With the help of his teammates, Fitzwater picked up his first win of the year and the third in the last four season openers for the Rage.
Lader had a team-best three shots for the Legacy who drops to 1-1 on the young season. Frustration among the Virginia team increased in the waning moments of the game as a determined Rage squad withstood the pressure from the bigger Legacy.