Philadelphia Union II

Match report: Tampa Bay 1-1 Bethlehem

Bethlehem Steel FC extended its unbeaten streak to five with a 1-1 draw Saturday in Tampa.

Bethlehem forward Seku Conneh scored his ninth goal of the season in the 56th minute off a feed from James Chambers, but Tampa Bay’s Sebastian Guenzatti equalized in the 80th minute to salvage the draw.

The result keeps Bethlehem in the USL playoff picture, slotting them into eighth place in the Eastern Conference and the final playoff spot with three games to go in the season.

Bethlehem head coach Brendan Burke handed starts to a pair of 16-year-old Philadelphia Union Academy midfielders, Brenden Aaronson and Michael Pellegrino, the first ever as a professional for each player.

Aaronson would come good on at least one play, combining with Chambers to launch the attack that led to Bethlehem’s goal. Left back Matthew Real’s defensive play put the ball at his feet to start a counter that went through Aaronson and Chambers before setting up Conneh’s successful blast from distance.

Tampa would score their goal after Bethlehem failed to sufficiently clear the ball after a free kick, leading to Darnell King’s cross finding Guenzatti, who did a fantastic job to control and then tap in the game-tying goal.

Bethlehem is in action again on Friday with a visit to Toronto FC II.

Three points
  • Bethlehem scores goals this year: After sporting an anemic attack last year, Bethlehem has netted 41 goals in 29 games, good enough for 12th in the 29-team USL. Conneh and Cory Burke have each netted nine goals this year, a record for the modern club.
  • Cracking Tampa Bay’s fortress: The Rowdies had entered the game 10-1-3 at home. It didn’t matter. They doubled Bethlehem’s shot count on the night, but goals are all that matter.
  • Academy teens blooded: Aaronson and Pellegrino were the sixth and seventh Union Academy players to start for the Steel this season.

Match stats

Shots: 17-8 (Tampa Bay)
Shots On Goal: 3-1 (Tampa Bay)
Corners: 11-1 (Tampa Bay)
Saves: 2-0 (Bethlehem)

Scoring summary

BST – 56’ Seku Conneh (James Chambers)
TBR – 80’ Sebastian Guenzatti (Darnell King)

Discipline summary

BST – 26’ Josh Heard (Yellow Card)
TBR – 29’ Hunter Gorskie (Yellow Card)
BST – 58’ Yosef Samuel (Yellow Card)
TBR – 62’ Joe Cole (Yellow Card)
BST – 74’ Aaron Jones (Yellow Card)
BST – 89’ Jake McGuire (Yellow Card)
TBR – 90+4’ Walter Restrepo (Yellow Card)
BST – 90+4’ Hugh Roberts (Yellow Card)
BST – 90+6’ Cory Burke (Yellow Card)

Lineup: Bethlehem Steel

Jake McGuire; Matt Real, Matthew Mahoney, Hugh Roberts, Aaron Jones; James Chambers, Michael Pellegrino, Brenden Aaronson; Yosef Samuel (Cory Burke 59’), Josh Heard (Chris Nanco 45’), Seku Conneh (Santi Moar 77’).
Substitutes not used: Tomas Romero, Charlie Reymann, Seth Kuhn, Amoy Brown.

Lineup: Tampa Bay

Matt Pickens; Darnell King, Hunter Gorskie, Neill Collins, Zac Portillos; Keith Savage, Joe Cole, Marcel Schäfer; Alex Morrell, Martin Paterson (Walter Restrepo 75’), Darwin Jones (Sebastian Guenzatti 64’).
Substitutes not used: Akira Fitzgerald, Tamika Mkandawire, Kyle Porter, Leo Fernandes, Martin Vingaard.

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