Philadelphia Union II / USL Match report

Match report: Bethlehem Steel 0-1 Charleston Battery

Photo courtesy Bethlehem Steel FC

An early goal and a bend-but-don’t-break defensive effort from Eastern Conference-leading Charleston Battery were enough to earn the win and a shutout against visiting Bethlehem Steel FC.

Both sides’ effective high press created a fairly static opening to the match.

Charleston broke through the malaise with a hard-driving counterattack led by Quinton Griffith and Heviel Cordoves, who sent a short lobbing cross into the penalty area to striker Ataulla Guerra, who buried the easy header.

Bethlehem responded to the goal well, pushing through Charleston’s midfield and earning a sequence of free kicks just outside the 18, but none were put on frame.

After absorbing the pressure, Charleston found their way back into the game, combining well and sending a number of dangerous crosses into the Bethlehem box, all snuffed out by Steel keeper Jake McGuire.

Union prospects Adam Najem and Marcus Epps provided the best scoring opportunity of the first half in the 36th minute with a pretty one-two combination that ended with a Epps strike that just missed the far post.

The second half saw the game open up for both squads. James Chambers was everywhere for the Steel, providing the missing link between the backline and the increasingly synchronized movement of Seku Conneh and Corey Burke.

Again, Bethlehem’s midfield pressure earned a number of free kicks, but again they failed to capitalize. Charleston reasserted themselves in the increasingly back-and-forth game with some terrific play deep in Bethlehem’s end, leading to some emergency defending and clearances from the Steel backline.

Steel continued to launch forays at the Charleston goal, but all were snuffed out by the Battery’s active and physical center backs. Still, defender Hugh Roberts nearly repeated his late-game heroics this week with a chance in the 88th minute off a Burke knockdown header, but the Charleston keeper smothered the ball.

Charleston did well to see the game out and Bethlehem started their three-game road trip with a tough loss. Battery proved their place as one of the league’s best teams with 90 minutes of mettle and physical pressure that allowed few clearcut scoring opportunities for Bethlehem.

Three points
  • Squandered opportunities: Steel drew a smattering of fouls in dangerous areas but failed to convert on any free kick or set piece.
  • Off frame: When Bethlehem did find chances in open play, they barely put any shots on goal and never truly tested Charleston’s goalie.
  • Disciplined D: The lone goal aside, Bethlehem’s backline was extremely organized and kept the typically high-flying Charleston attack in check.

Bethlehem: Jake McGuire; Auston Trusty, Mark McKenzie, Hugh Roberts, Aaron Jones; James Chambers, Chris Wingate (Santi Moar 80’), Adam Najem; Cory Burke, Marcus Epps (Chris Nanco 67’), Seku Conneh

Charleston: Odisnel Cooper; Quinton Griffith, Taylor Mueller,Forrest Lasso, O’Brian Woodbine; Dante Marini, Neveal Hackshaw (Tah Brian Anunga 74’), Justin Portillo; Maikel Chang (Kotaro Higashi 54’), Ataulla Guerra, Heviel Cordoves (Skylar Thomas 87’)

Scoring summary

CHS – 17’ Ataulla Guerra (Heviel Cordoves, Quinton Griffith)

Misconduct summary

CHS – 22’ Neavel Hackshaw (Yellow Card)
BST – 55’ Auston Trusty (Yellow Card)

One Comment

  1. WeAreSteel 2K17 says:

    Another 1-0 loss on the road. These are the types of games that killed us last season. Charleston’s goal was soft too.

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