USL Match report

Preseason match report: Bethlehem Steel 11-1 Junior Lone Star

Bethlehem Steel FC hosted a combination of NPSL side Junior Lone Star FC with their U-23 team on Saturday and scored 11 times.

Lone Star converted a deserved penalty kick.

The only question to ask a head coach after a game like this is whether everyone came out of the game healthy. “Yes, across the board,” Bethlehem head coach Brendan Burke replied.

The Steel experiment with preseason game-conditioning continued. The time interval for each group lengthened to a sequence of 25+20; HT; 20+25.

As for the match itself, the first half was a credible soccer game, if one dominated by a superior side. Burke’s concern from last week about vulnerability to transition counterattacks was on the players minds.

To Junior Lone Star’s credit, they got perhaps as many as three such opportunities in the half. Tomas Romero clearly understands the term, “sweeper keeper,” and came beyond the box to clean up at least twice.

Lone Star came out of the halftime locker room fired up and nearly caught Bethlehem flatfooted. But they were up against a tough group off the whistle and three goals in the first 13 minutes put the match beyond salvage, save for the pride of not being shut out.

The last 25 minutes was unfortunate. Lone Star were courageous but gassed, defensively they had no compactness whatsoever to their shape, and the attacking group made no attempt to get back on defense because they were instantly 30 yards behind the play. The Steel’s second group ran riot.

Wednesday Bethlehem will host Penn FC (formerly the Harrisburg franchise) of the USL at YSC sports at 1:30 PM. As coach Burke said, they will be a better test.

Bethlehem Steel FC
Group 1 Group 2
GK Tomas Romero Lukas Burns
LB Seth Kuhn Mickey George
LCB Matt Danilack  Matt Danilack
RCB Brandon Aubrey  Brandon Aubrey
RB Matt Mahoney Clay Dimick
DCM James Chambers Colin Stripling
CM Mike Catalano Gregory Messam, Jr.
LFM Santi Moar Issa Rayyan
ACM Brenden Aaronson Joey Gallardo
RFM Chris Nanco Tonny Temple
S Brandon Allen Aidan Apodaca
minutes 25 + 20 = 45 Minutes 20 +25 = 45


Junior Lone Star

Keepers Connor Halsed,  Prince Monyan
Starters Abu Donzo, Ansu Corneh, Deron Joe, Jacob Meyer, Daniel Willie, Ibrahim Sherif, Martin Dempster, Francis Watson, Kanibah Kutu-Okoi, Edward Slueue.
Substitutes Abdul Mansaray, Amsu Sonyah, Alex Medina, Josh Chelleh, Deekai Gbonimy, Momo Dolley, Shederick Cooper, Alex Hayes, Sylvain
Coaches Head: Bobby Ali; Assistants: James Karnga, Charlie Flowe; VP of Operations: Morris Kemokai
Scoring Summary


Steel 11th min Brandon Allen (Chris Nanco)
Steel 18th min Brenden Aaronson (Matt Mahoney)
Steel 27th min Joe Gallardo (Tonny Temple)
Steel 40th min Issa Rayyan (Aidan Apodaca & James Chambers)
Steel 50th min Mike Catalano (Brandon Allen)
Steel 52nd min Santi Moar (Mike Catalano)
Steel 58th min Santi Moar (PK)
Lone Star 68th min Abdul Mansaray (PK)
Steel 73rd min Gregory Messam, Jr. (Mickey George)
Steel 79th min Gregory Messam, Jr. (Issa Rayyan)
Steel 83rd min Tonny Temple (Aidan Apodaca)
Steel 86th min Issa Rayyan (Tony Temple)


  1. WeAreSteel2K18 says:

    Thanks for the write-up, Tim. On Twitter BSFC listed the lineup as a 4-3-3 throughout the game. Was that the case? Seems like they played a high pressure 4-3-3 that overwhelmed Lone Star. I hope that’s the case. Maybe there’s hope for an organizational switch.

  2. Myself, I would not have called it a 4-3-3. A 4-2-3-1 that is rampant in attack with a DCM who is dominating on the day can appear such. But I have neither heard nor seen anything in the practices and games suggesting a switch of the organization’s fundamental template.
    The template continues to call for a high line of confrontation by the back four. The steel’s conditioning advantage meant that as the game wore on and JLS slowed down, the Steel were all over them all over the field.
    I would caution against drawing conclusions from a match against an overmatched opponent.
    I would also comment that there are a variety of tactical tweaks that can occur within any basic team shape.
    Tactically, the most interesting thing I think I saw was a throwback to an earlier era. At times it looked like JLS was using a sweeper stopper system . At other time it looked like a flat back four. But again, the tweeks within the basic shape render the basic shape meaningless at times.
    Instantly recognizing and applying the basic principles of defense and offense as the fluidly evolving situation demands are more important, I think the organization’s technical staff would argue. The fluidity is kaleidoscopic in speed if not quite in complexity.

  3. Thanks Tim. Looking forward to your write-up of Wednesday’s upcoming game.

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