USL - Bethlehem Steel FC / USL Match report

Match report: FC Cincinnati 1-0 Bethlehem Steel

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Bethlehem Steel traveled to battle against FC Cincinnati and lost 1-0, breaking their three-game unbeaten road streak.

First half

FC Cincinnati entered the game with energy and looked a class above the Steel, just as their table position suggests. Players moved the ball quickly, never taking more than three touches, and the ball moved between the three lines effortlessly. Bethlehem just could not keep up. The Steel defenders were out of sync and out of breathe from the get go as evidenced but their constant overcommitments and mistimed tackles. Cincinnati was able to generate wonderful scoring chances from whipped crosses and from uptempo short passes around the area that played their forwards through. Andrew Wiedeman was played a ball inside the 18 and after some fancy footwork struck a venomous left footed shot that Samir Badr saved with aplomb. Badr commanded his box well as he claimed several crosses and was decisive with his parries. The goalkeeper was the best player in the first half.

Though FC Cincinnati certainly had the upper hand throughout the half, Bethlehem did create a few chances of their own. Cincinnati tired after about 25 minutes, likely due to their congested schedule recently, and the Steel were able to take advantage and play into the offensive third. Ryan Richter struck a whipped free kick from 25 yards just over the bard on the 20 minute mark and for a decent spell of 10 to 12 minutes, the Steel were back in the game. The half fizzled about 38 minutes in as Bethlehem were content to keep a point and Cincinnati tired even more and failed to create any substantive chances.

Second half

Bethlehem came out with a different game plan in the second half. Brendan Burke and his men played with more attacking intent and created several chances going forward and looked much less conservative on the ball. Even with the direct attacking style, the Steel never looked likely to score as Cory Burke was unconvincing and final touches were always a bit off. The Steel’s attacking desire in the second half opened the game up considerably and both teams battled back and forth. The ball was rarely moved laterally for long before being moved forward with goal-scoring intent.

Badr once again was the best player on the pitch. The goalie claimed crosses and made key saves. It was not until the 66’ minute that Omar Cummings came on and flicked a corner kick cross into the path of former Philadelphia Union player Jimmy McLaughlin that lost Badr his clean sheet. The Steel keeper was hardy at fault as player coach Fred was standing on the post and kept the unmarked McLaughlin onside as he scored inside the six yard box. McLaughlin’s header proved to be the winner as the game finished 1-0 in favor of Cincinnati.

The Steel had a wonderful chance in stoppage time to grab an equalizer. Game Gissie used his pace and trickery to find space out wide to cross to Anthony Fontana. Fontana chested the ball to Burke who volleyed just wide. It was the Steel’s best chance all game but it was not enough to draw level.

Bethlehem completes their series of five road games on Tuesday against Toronto FC II before hosting Pittsburgh Riverhounds on Sunday, July 10 at 4 p.m.

Three quick points

Samir Badr
This was the sixth consecutive start for the goalkeeper, and he has been a beacon for excellence, consistency, and stability. Not at fault for today’s goal and showed presence in the air and poise in shot stopping. Right now, he’s looking talented and confident.

Result
The Steel looked content to walk away with a point at half time but kicked it up a notch in the second half. The never looked likely to score in either half and the attacking talent was just not on show today. The most inventive player on the night for the Steel was Gabe Gissie, who was left on the bench to start. The Steel had a chance to walk away with a point against a top team, but squandered their chance with a lack of a cutting edge in the offensive third and lapses of concentration in the defensive third.

Anthony Fontana
Head coach Brendan Burke substituted the unconvincing Fred for 16-year-old academy player Anthony Fontana. Immediately, Fontana brought hunger and confidence to the midfield that Fred failed to show in his time on the pitch. The Union should see the Steel as an opportunity to give promising youngsters a chance, and the parent club is clearly taking advantage.

Bethlehem Steel
Samir Badr, Taylor Washington, Michael Daly, Anderson, Ryan Richter, Josh Heard (Taylor-Parkes 78’), Bolu Akinyode (Bibbs 85’), Jamie Luchini (Gissie 72’), Fred (Fontana 73’), James Chambers, Cory Burke
Unused substitutes: Nick Bibbs, Gabe Gissie, Amoy Brown, Anthony Fontana, Carlos Dos Santos, Raheem Taylor-Parkes, Seku Conneh

FC Cincinnati
Mitch Hildebrandt, Tyler Polak, Harrison Delbridge, Kenney Walker, Paul Nicholson, Sean Okoli (Lee 91’), Eric Stevenson (Stevenson 78’), Pat McMahon, Corben Bone (Tomaselli 87’), Jimmy McLaughlin, Andrew Weideman (Cummings 66’)
Unused substitutes: Dallas Jaye, Omar Cummings, Evan Lee, Ross Tomaselli, Derek Luke, Austin Berry, Francisco Narbon

Scoring Summary
Jimmy McLaughlin 70’ (FCC)

Disciplinary Summary
BST — Josh Heard — 48
BST — Michael Daly — 59
BST — Anderson — 63

One Comment

  1. Old Soccer Coach says:

    I assume Akinyode played the #6. Did Chambers play the #8 for the suspended Jones, and Fred the #10, or was it vice versa?

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