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Sunday, May 8, 2016

Atlanta Silverbacks vs Reading United: US Open Cup Preview - by Taylor Peyton

The Lamar Hunt US Open Cup is upon us once again. For the first time since 2008, the Silverbacks will play in the first round of the tournament. The team’s first competitive match of the season will take place on Wednesday, May 11 in Reading, Pennsylvania. Their opponent will be Reading United AC.

Founded in 1995 as the Reading Rage, Reading United AC plays in the Mid-Atlantic Division of the PDL. They are affiliated with Philadelphia Union of MLS and have been since the 2010 season. Reading United have seen some their former players go on to respectable careers in MLS whether it be with the Union or elsewhere. A good number of current MLS players such as Ray Gaddis, Andrew Wenger, C.J. Sapong, Luke Mulholland, and Deshorn Brown have played for Reading United in their younger days before going on to bigger and better things.

For a PDL team, it’s fair to say that Reading United have a certain prestige to them, not just because of the players they’ve had in the past, but also because of their record in the US Open Cup. They have qualified for the US Open Cup 10 times in their history, 8 of those appearances coming consecutively from 2009-2016, and have made it out of the first round every year since 2012. In what can only be described as their biggest accomplishment in the US Open Cup, Reading defeated USL club Harrisburg City Islander 1-0 in the second round of the tournament in 2013, their first victory over a professional team, and their only one to date. This 2013 upset led to the first of their two appearances in the third round, the second one coming in 2014 after beating GBFC Thunder of the NPSL in the second round. Both appearances ended in losses to New York Red Bulls in 2013, and Rochester Rhinos in extra time in 2014.

Reading United’s roster is solely composed of College players. It is an interesting roster because 11 of the 28 players on the roster come from foreign. 8 Countries and ten states are represented. 2 Reading players have ties to Georgia; University of Kentucky sophomore midfielder Tanner Hummel is from Kennesaw, and a forward from Cambridge, England named Jake Simpson is a Sophomore at Young Harris College.

It is the first competitive match of the season for both clubs; they will both begin league play May 14th on the road. The match will be streamed on Youtube by Reading, and there will be a watch party at Elder Tree in East Atlanta, come out if you want to watch with other Silverbacks fans.

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