USL Match report

Match Report: Bethlehem Steel 3-1 Richmond Kickers

Photos Bethlehem Steel Communications

Bethlehem Steel conceded the first goal to the Richmond Kickers, but then answered with goals from Matt Real, Santi Moar, and Chris Nanco to win going away 3-1 late Sunday afternoon at Lehigh’s Goodman Stadium.

Richmond wingback Austin Yearwood overlapped down the left and penetrated the end line in the 15th minute. He delivered a perfect pass back to striker Heviel Cordoves — who replaced the injured Giuseppe Gentile in the 10th minute — who struck decisively for the lead past Steel keeper Jake McGuire.

Despite the early deficit, Bethlehem remained relentless in the attack.

Santi Moar owned Kickers center back Alex Lee one v. one for the entire game, beginning with a third-minute header off the bar. Moar beat Lee to set up the opening goal in the 29th minute, delivering a pass back from the endline to Matt Real who did not miss his chance from about 12 yards.

Moar did not let up in the second half. In the 47th minute he hit the near post with a screamer. And then Moar finally got his goal in the 68th minute. From a corner kick struck by Adam Najem, Moar lashed the go-ahead score into the net.

In the 89th minute, Aidan Apodaca broke away from the last Richmond defender, forcing goalkeeper Travis Worra to race him to the ball. Apodaca won, Worra took him down in the penalty box, and the referee pointed to the spot. Chris Nanco struck home the spot kick to complete the scoring.

Bethlehem responded as coach Brendan Burke would have hoped to the adversity of going behind. By the end of the game Richmond were soundly beaten, with the Steel finishing with 30 shots. Among the Steel’s plethora of shots, three were saved by the iron of the goal frame. The most spectacular save of the evening came from Kickers center back Meikeil Williams, who blocked a 55th-minute blast from Steel center mid Drew Skundrich off the line with his chest.

Bethlehem begins an intense stretch of three games in eight days next Saturday, May 12th in Charleston. Burke’s goal is six points from those three matches.

Three Points:

Mild surprise: Richmond seemed to come out in a 3-5-2. It benefited the Kickers by allowing for the Yearwood overlap that created Richmond’s beautiful opening goal.

However, it also placed Lee alone on an island against Moar, and Lee proved no match for the Spaniard one-on-one in the open field.

By the middle of the first half the Steel seemed to have adjusted to the Richmond shape and — save for one mental timeout in first-half stoppage time when Cordoves should have secured a brace — Richmond were no longer much of an offensive threat.

Once again: Derrick Jones started again at defensive center mid and wore the captain’s armband. While Jones continues to fill his his offensive role primarily with the dribble and short passes, he did try one long pass early to Moar. He over-hit it to Moar’s frustration, seemingly due to opening minutes’ adrenaline, but that he saw it and struck it without thought seems like progress.

Jones teamed this time with Drew Skundrich at center midfielder, who made his professional debut. In the first half Skundrich displayed good energy, but not much creativity. His second half was noticeably better, as he began to look for offensive space and had at least two excellent chances to score. He still played within himself, but covered more and more ground both defensively and offensively, and he completed the full 90 minutes on his debut.

Injury updates: Omar Holness has begun his second period of rehabilitation after his surgery. Coach Burke has said he will play again this season.

James Chambers has been seen on video participating in practice exercises, but is clearly still not fully recovered. This season, unlike last, the Steel’s signings focused on the central channel in the midfield, so the absence of the man “who makes us tick,” to quote Burke, has not been crippling.

Lineups:

Bethlehem: Jake McGuire*; Olivier Mbaizo*, Matt Mahoney, Brandon Aubrey, Matt Real*; Derrick Jones*, Drew Skundrich; Fabian Herbers* (Chris Nanco 65’), Adam Najem*, Santi Moar (Michee Ngalina 85’); Brandon Allen (Aidan Apoldaca 65’).

Substitutes: Kris Shakes**;Mike Catalano, Prosper Chiluya, , A. J. Paterson.

*Union player ** Academy player

Richmond: Travis Worra*; Raul Gonzalez, Austin Yearwood, Conor Shanosky, Meikel Williams, Alex Lee; Yudai Imura, Oscar Umar (Fred Owusu-Sekyere 81’), Koby Osei-Wusu; Brian Shriver, Guiseppe Gentile (Heviel Cordoves 10’; Luiz Fernando 68’). Substitutes: Trevor Spangenberg; Neil Hlavaty, William Yomby, Matt Bolduc. *D. C. United player

Scoring:

Richmond       15th minute        Heviel Cordoves (Austin Yearwood)
Bethlehem       29th minute       Matt Real (Santi Moar)
Bethlehem       68th minute       Santi Moar (Adam Najem)
Bethlehem.      83rd minute       Chris Nanco (penalty)

Discipline:

Richmond       yellow card       36th minute Heviel Cordoves (foul)
Richmond       yellow card       72nd minute Austin Yearwood (foul)
Bethlehem       yellow card       72nd minute Drew Skundrich (foul)
Richmond.      yellow card       79th minute Oscar Umar (foul)
Richmond       yellow card       85th minute Alex Lee (foul)

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