Reading United were in a terribly unfamiliar possession in the waning minutes of Saturday night’s USL League Two showdown against the visiting New York Red Bulls. With just seven minutes remaining on the scoreboard at Wilson High School’s Gurski, United were staring at a two-goal deficit and their first home loss in just over three years. Goals from Simon Becher and Felipe Hideki helped United turn the tide and earn a hard fought 2-2 draw.
The clash between two of the Mid-Atlantic Division heavyweights was a tepid affair before a thunderstorm rumbled through Berks County with the associated lightning forcing the game to be halted in the 27th minute.
Following the the 70 minute lightning delay, both teams were sparked back into action. United thundered down the field in attack, but were denied an opener three times in a five-minute span by superb goalkeeper play from Red Bulls backstop Matt Frank. Hideki saw his blistering effort blocked by Frank in the 31st minute. United midfielder Goncalo Garcia saw his shot on target turned past the near post by Frank in the 34th minute before Theo Quartey’s 36th minute saw his rip on target saved by Frank.
United would rue their missed opportunities when USL League Two Top 50 Prospect Brian Saramago took a pass from Manny Agboola and buried a shot past Reading keeper Jahmali Waite in the 38th minute to give the visitors a surprise 0-1 advantage.
With his side struggling to breakdown the Red Bulls’ stout defense, Reading boss Alan McCann inserted United’s leading scorer Simon Becher into the match as an extra attacker in the 73rd minute.
At first glance, the move appeared to have backfired as United conceded a second goal three minutes later when Agboola turned a low cross into the back of the net to double New York’s advantage to 0-2.
Staring at the prospects of defeat, Reading United rallied.
Wyomissing, Pennsylvania native Seth Kuhn set the comeback into motion when he hit a long ball up the middle of the pitch to the sprinting Becher. The Reading forward muscled off a Red Bulls defender before hitting a low shot through Frank’s legs and into the net to halve the visitors’ advantage. The goal was Becher’s seventh of the 2019 season.
United continued to heap pressure on the Red Bulls defense in search of an equalizer which would finally come in the dying minutes of the game. In the 90th minute, Hideki took a pass from Garcia and whipped a shot past Frank that nestled into the back corner of the goal to tie the game at 2-2. Hideki’s third goal in three matches was enough to earn Reading United a draw and extend the club’s unbeaten run to 29 matches.
Reading return to action in eight days when they make the trip to the Jersey Shore for their historic 50th all-time meeting with the Ocean City Nor’easters. United will return home to Gurski Stadium on Wednesday, July 10th when they host Cedar Stars Rush.