USL Match report

Match report: Charleston Battery 2-1 Bethlehem Steel

Maurice Edu started and went the full 90 for Bethlehem Steel on Saturday, but they failed to snap their winless road streak Saturday and fell 2-1 to the Charleston Battery.

It all started well for Bethlehem, as their high energy approach was evident from kickoff. Bethlehem head coach Brendan Burke had obviously drilled into his charges that hard running and dedication through a tough road matchup would get them through with at least a point.

The Steel did well to win the first corner of the game through an Eric Ayuk cross, but unfortunately, cracks appeared just 10 minutes in with a goal from the Charleston Battery’s Maikel Chang. Ataullah Guerra had found space to run in behind the Steel defense and then clipped the ball back to Chang for an easy goal inside the box.

Not much could be done by new goalkeeper Matthew Perrella, but with such a convoluted defense, this type of miscommunication to allow an easy chance was always bound to happen. Nick Bibbs, in this defensive crisis for the Steel, did play throughout the match with composure on the ball and in the tackle. His sliding challenge inside the box prevented a shot from the Battery and kept the Steel in the game.

The Steel began to battle back with the pace and strength of their attack. Ayuk and Bethlehem striker Corey Burke harassed defenders and ran down with field with power and purpose. Justin McMaster also did his bit to cause havoc in the attacking third. The heroics of the Battery’s keeper, Atlanta United loanee Alex Tambakis, was the only reason the Steel did not equalize. His clutch saves kept the Steel at bay.

It seemed Bethlehem would never find a way back into the game until their midfield got stuck in to some hard 50-50 challenges. Edu then picked up the pieces and sent a long, hopeful ball forward into the box, where Burke was pulled down as he attempted to control the pass, and the referee awarded a penalty. Derrick Jones stepped up to the spot and sent a low powerful shot to the keeper’s left, and it looked for a minute that the young academy player had failed to equalize. Tambakis made contact with the ball, but the power of the shot sent it rebounding into the goal. It was a penalty emblematic of the night the Steel were having, but this time, they got a lucky break.

It did not take long for the Steel’s defensive frailties to be exposed again. Soon after the equalizer, the defense failed to effectively mark up on a routine throw in, allowing a free cross into the six-yard box that Charleston’s Ricky Garbanzo cooly volleyed home.

The Steel kept plugging for an equalizer throughout the rest of the match, and the best chances came from substitute Josh Heard. Just a few minutes into his appearance, the wide attacker played a beautiful low ball to Burke that could not be turned home. It would have been a pivotal moment in the game, but it was not to be.

Another chance came for Heard deep into the box, but an expert sliding challenge denied him the opportunity, and the Battery rode out the a 2-1 victory and claimed all three points.

Three points

Edu getting back to fitness: Maurice Edu again appeared for the Steel as he tries to regain fitness for the Union. The Steel’s parent club is trying desperately to secure a playoff berth, and Edu could be instrumental in that quest. His work for the Steel will surely speed his journey to match fitness, but signs of fatigue appeared throughout the game for the veteran midfielder.

Derrick Jones ties top scorer: With his somewhat lucky penalty, Derrick Jones tied Ryan Richter atop the Steel scoring charts with his fifth goal. The homegrown player has pace and power with good technique, but he needs to add goals to his game to become a success. While a spot kick certainly does not show supreme ability, it shows that Jones has the courage to step up at a key moment.

Defensive questions: The Steel’s defense has been on a tumultuous journey all season. Easy goals are given up with the constant shuffle at the back. Four goalkeepers have played between the sticks for the Steel this season and not because of injury. The club also recently released Samir Badr. This shuffle of goalkeepers, coupled with the constantly changing center back pairing, will naturally cause some communication issues and lead to easy goals, as evidenced throughout the Battery game.

Scoring summary

CHS – 10’ Maikel Chang (Ataullah Guerra)
BST – 35’ Derrick Jones (PK)
CHS – 39’ Ataullah Guerra (Ricky Garbonzo)

Discipline summary

BST – 32’ – James Chambers (Yellow Card)
CHS – 34’ – Shawn Ferguson (Yellow Card)
BST – 41’ – Corey Burke (Yellow Card)
BST – 43’ – Maurice Edu (Yellow Card)
CHS – 45’ – O’Brian Woodbine (Yellow Card)
BST – 53’ – Taylor Washington (Yellow Card)
CHS – 53’ – Ricky Garbanzo (Yellow Card)
BST – 71’ – Nick Bibbs (Yellow Card)

Bethlehem Steel lineup

Matt Perrella; Ryan Richter, Nick Bibbs, Auston Trusty, Taylor Washington (Josue Monge 80’); Maurice Edu©, Derrick Jones, James Chambers; Eric Ayuk (Cole Missimo 76’), Justin McMaster (Josh Heard 65’), Corey Burke

Substitutes not used: Tomas Romero, Bolu Akinyode, Gabe Gissie, Amoy Brown

Charleston Battery lineup

Alex Tambakis; Quiton Griffith, Taylor Mueller, Shawn Ferguson, O’Brian Woodbine; Maikel Chang (Dante Marini 77’), Justin Portillo, Attulla Guerra (Heviel Cordoves 84’), Andrew Carlton (Jeffrey Otoo 65’); Ricky Garbanzo (Zach Prince 73’), Romario Williams (Jeremy Ebobisse 46’)
Substitutes not used: Odisnel Cooper, Forrest Lasso

2 Comments

  1. I just want to know how did Mo, go……by plane or team bus.
    .
    and if he went 90 for steel after traveling 20 odd hours round trip in a bus…. I’d expect to see him with the first team and 11 hours of flight for 45 minutes in Portland… Assuming of course his leg is without issue.

    • Check back tomorrow, El P. I put some stuff at the end of the piece that is being processed by Dan and Ed.
      .
      of course, I got quite a bit wrong guessing about how they might proceed last week. But it provided comic relief.

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