WEST LAWN, PA – The club’s first team (1-1-2, 5 points) fell for the first time this season against the defending national runners up from the 2018 season, Reading United AC (3-0-0, 9 points). The first team rode a three-game point streak to Reading as they achieved points against Evergreen, Cedar Stars, and Ocean City chronologically. The opposition began play in the U.S. Open Cup, where they split a pair of matches. In USL League Two competition, the Philadelphia Union affiliate has taken all three contests it has participated in.
Debut’s for multiple first teamers included club veteran Adam Marcu, St. Francis Brooklyn’s Thriston Briscoe, and former 2000’s player Dylan Scanley. Returning from undisclosed injuries were Johan Mauritzson and Alexis Santa, while still missing defender Kalley Muntaha to a hamstring pull. Meanwhile, in West Lawn, a one-sided beginning for the defending then-PDL runners up from a season ago, had the opposition off and running on the scoreboard, as two shots and one save weren’t enough for the Gambian national goalkeeper in Jason Belfon, as he saw Alex McKinley’s one timer sail directly into the net.
Following numerous possessions from each respective club, the first team gained a bit of momentum as an odd-man rush led to a cross from midfielder Alexis Santa to Thriston Briscoe, who just kicked the ball a couple of inches over the head of the opposing keeper, Waite. A few minutes later in the opposite direction, Reading’s Jeremy Rafanello sails one over the head of Belfon, as he launched one from just outside the box off the foot of defender John Sabal, Jr. Numerous chances on net for former NPSL’s Tampa Bay Rowdies star Karamba Janneh were gloved away by Waite.
Fouls seemed to trouble the first team, as the second goal of the contest came off a free-kick from Reading’s Deniz Dogan, that was eventually tapped in with a header from Will Baynham. In the 34th minute of play, a steal by Briscoe at midfield caught Reading by surprise as the St. Francis Brooklyn product crossed the ball to Karamba Janneh on the odd-man rush, but was kicked inches to the right of the Reading keeper.
A goal keeping change to begin the second half included the starter of the first three games in Bryant and Stratton’s Babucarr Ceesay, who surrendered one goal against the Ocean City Nor’easters a week ago. Subpar defensive play in front of the aforementioned Ceesay had him on his heels in the first 15 minutes of play that included two shots that fortunately sailed just high, ensured Ceesay of his one goal allowed streak to remain alive. The streak would come to an end just six minutes later (60’) as USL Top 100 “Players to Watch” secured the team’s third goal of the match to seal the first team’s fate at three nil.
All seven substitutions were given playing time throughout the contest which included Johann Weatherly seeing time. 2000’s player Dylan Scanley made his debut in the 78’. Three-year veteran Robi Sillah also saw time as well for the first time since the Cedar Stars Rush contest. The first team suffered their first regulation loss of the 2019 season, but still remain in third place in the standings behind the Reading United AC, and the Long Island Rough Riders with five points.
The club’s first team returns to Brooklyn on Tuesday, May 28 for a showdown against fellow New York club in the Long Island Rough Riders. The match is slated to kick off for 8:30 p.m. from Poly Prep Country Day School. The contest can be seen on the exclusive home of the first team, I-95 Sports and Entertainment Network, and on YouTube.com/FAEuro.