Philadelphia Union II / USL Match report

Match Report: Bethlehem Steel FC 1 – Richmond Kickers 1

Photo courtesy USL

In a rain-delayed match that finished close to dusk, short-handed Bethlehem held on against the Kickers to preserve a 1-1 tie and their unbeaten streak. As expected, Fabian Herbers saw some minutes. As a pleasant surprise, Brian Carroll also played for the Steel.

Richmond left flank midfielder Luiz Fernando was left wide open in the box in the 40th minute to slot home a pass from central midfielder Sunny Jane after he stole a poor back pass from Steel defensive midfielder Brian Carroll.

And in the 51st minute after steel attacking center mid Anthony Fontana was brought down just outside the “D” of the penalty box, Aaron Jones bent the free kick up and down into the net at the near post past Kickers keeper Matt Turner to equalize.

In the 66th minute referee Adam Musashe chose to interpret a studs up attempt to play the ball by Hugh Roberts that struck Samuel Asante in the shin with literal harshness and issued a red card, putting the Steel down a man for the last 30 minutes, given the six minutes of second-half stoppage time.

In the previous minute the gullible referee swallowed Kickers defender Alex Lee’s Oscar-worthy con job.  Lee snapped his head back hard and dropped to the ground, claiming an elbow to his left pectoral muscle.

If someone strikes you hard in the pec, your head does not snap back. You double over the blow instinctively, to absorb it. If USL continues to promote itself as a world class 2nd division soccer league, it needs less naïve officials.

Burke can have no complaints about his second yellow, and will now miss the next two USL games as he has a red card suspension and a yellow-card-accumulation suspension as well. He will be away with Jamaica during the Gold Cup and  those games will count as his suspensions according to USL rules.

While the game was even strength, the Steel’s central channel midfielders dominated possession. Adam Najem played the number 8 and bossed the game in front of captain Brian Carroll, ably abetted by attacking center midfielder Anthony Fontana.

Once the Steel went a man down, and Seku Conneh suffered a soft tissue injury — assumed to be a cramp because he was allowed to continue to play on it by his training staff – possession passed entirely to Richmond. Matt Mahoney filled in at center back for Roberts, and Steel fans were grateful that last year’s Kicker goal scorers had either retired or been lured away to other USL sides.

Three points:

Age Range: This game saw the organization’s two most youthful field players take the field together with its oldest one. Anthony Fontana and Matt Real are both 17 and Brian Carroll will be 36 before the end of the month. Goalkeepers have to be excluded because Tomas Romero is 16.

Water: Given the deluge that poured onto the pitch it is a credit to all that the game was played. The endline-touchline-corner flag triangles on the western side of the pitch were difficult in spite of the best efforts of equipment manager Adam Vaccarro’s push broom and one of his assistant’s squeegee. The water flowed back as time passed as it tends to do. Perhaps road construction erosion-control barriers might be temporary dams.

Tables and streaks: As of midnight Saturday, the Steel continue to lie fourth in the eastern conference. They have not lost in their last six. This is the first game of the streak in which the double pivot was not manned by Ken Tribbett and James Chambers.


Bethlehem: Jake McGuire*; Aaron Jones*, Hugh Roberts, Auston Trusty*, Matt Real; Brian Carroll* (Santi Moar 60’), Anthony Fontana** (Matt Mahoney 69’); Fabian Herbers* (Chris Nanco 30’), Adam Najem*, Cory Burke; Seku Conneh. Unused substitutes: Tomas Romero**; Charlie Reymann, Yosef Samuel, Josh Heard. – Union Loanee*, Academy Player**

Richmond: Matt Turner; Braeden Troyer, Mallan Roberts, Conor Shanovsky, Alex Lee; Sunny Jane (Finnlay Wyatt 55’), Samuel Asante (Yudai Imura ’71); Luiz Fernando, Raul Gonzalez, Owusu Sekyere; Franck Tayou (Antmony Grant ’63). Unused substitutes: Marcel Debelis; Oliver Minatel, Evan Lee, Patrick McCann.

Scoring Summary:

39:54 Richmond      Luiz Fernando (from Raul Gonzalez)
51:10 Bethlehem      Aaron Jones

Disciplinary Summary:

45th Richmond         Braeden Troyer      Yellow Card (foul)
54th Richmond         Sunny Jane             Yellow Card (foul)
65th Bethlehem         Cory Burke.             Yellow Card (foul)
66th Bethlehem         Hugh Roberts         Red Card (violent conduct)
90th+1 Bethlehem     Auston Trusty        Yellow Card (foul)
90th+5 Bethlehem     Cory Burke             2nd Yellow Card hence Red(foul)

Referee: Andrew Musashe

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