USL - Philadelphia Union II / USL Match report

Match Report: St. Louis FC 1 – Bethlehem Steel FC 2

Photo courtesy of Bethlehem Steel FC

In the turf-enhanced heat and strong winds of Fenton, MO, Bethlehem Steel surrendered a goal off a poorly-cleared melee in front of the net in the third minute but fought back with a strong second half to equalize in the 55th, win in the 74th, and defend pressure thereafter to come all the way back for the 2-1 win.

In other leagues, St. Louis’s Tyler David would have been credited with St. Louis’s 3rd minute goal. It was on frame and going in, in spite of Ken Tribbett’s attempt to clear it off the line, but the in-game announcement called it a Tribbett-touched own goal.

Seku Conneh equalized for the Steel after a pinball-melee from a throw-in ten minutes after the break. Hugh Roberts’ head kept the chance alive twice before Yosef Samuel slotted back to the Liberian just outside the six.

Nineteen minutes later Conneh calmly laid back a pass from the end line to the unmarked, onrushing James Chambers who struck a low, curling net-finder with his left foot for the win.

Having the wind and acclimating to strange turf handicapped the Steel in the first half, as they tried to cope with St. Louis’s early energy. The half was choppy, sloppy, unattractive soccer. Only as heat sapped energy levels did stretches of rhythmic possession occasionally occur for both sides.

As is no surprise to those knowing how the wind affects highly technical soccer teams, the Steel played a much better second half against the wind. Its challenge forced greater concentration and better offensive-shape discipline. The Steel also high-pressed St. Louis from the second-half tap.

St. Louis’s turf recalls that of TFC II since the small black pellets amongst the plastic grass grab the ball and slow it down. By the second half it was clear the Steel were the better side. This time the result reflected the fact.

Three Points:

Records and firsts:

  • Seku Conneh reset his own single season scoring record and club total goals record.
  • Charlie Reymann achieved his first professional start.
  • Anthony Fontana made his first appearance of 2017.
  • Academy senior Tiger Graham made his first appearance on a professional bench.
  • The game-time temperature of 91 degrees mandated hydration breaks during both halves, the first time the Steel have experienced them this season.

Muscle: St. Louis FC plays a physical game of soccer which the referee tended to let go after calling several early fouls. The Steel responded with controlled discipline, although once their Irish captain needed an East End Army chorus of Kumbayah.

Table whimsy: Bethlehem lies 6th in the Eastern conference table, first of the other four teams also on 16 points as they own the first tiebreaker, wins. They go to North Jersey this Friday to play New York Red Bulls 2 who have 17 points and lie two places above them in fourth, after Louisville beat them earlier in the day 3-0.

Lineups:

Bethlehem: Jake McGuire*; Aaron Jones*, Hugh Roberts, Auston Trusty*, Charlie Reymann; James Chambers (C), Ken Tribbett*; Chris Nanco (Josh Heard 81’), Adam Najem* (Anthony Fontana** 67’), Yosef Samuel (Santi Moar 64’); Seku Conneh*. Unused substitutes: Jahmali Waite**; Matt Mahoney, Dawson McCartney**, Tiger Graham**. Unavailable: Cory Burke (Jamaica), Mark McKenzie (overseas), Matt Real (overseas), Chris Wingate (hamstring) — Union Loanee*, Academy Player**.

St. Louis: Devla Gorrick; Wesley Charpie, Konrad Plewa, Eric Cabalceta, Ryan Howe; Dragan Stojkov (C), Tony Walls, Emir Alihidivoc, Sebastian Dalgaard (Mats Bjurman 76’); Christian Volesky (Octavio Guzman 62’), Tyler David (Max Alvarez 62’). Unused substitutes: Adam Grinwis; A. J. Cochran, Austin Ledbetter, Matt Sheldon.

Referee: Lukas Szpala

Scoring Summary:

St. Louis:           3rd minute   Own Goal (Ken Tribbett)
Bethlehem:      55th minute   Seku Conneh ( Yosef Samuel & Hugh Roberts)
Bethlehem:      74th minute   James Chambers  (Seku Conneh)

Disciplinary Summary:

St. Louis:         Emir Alihidivocl         30th minute foul
Bethlehem:     Aaron Jones                42nd minute foul
St. Louis:         Dragan Stojkov           50th minute persistent infringement
Bethlehem:     James Chambers        68th minute foul
St. Louis:         Konrad Plewa             81st minute professional foul
St. Louis:         Eric Cabalceta            87th minute professional foul

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