USL - Bethlehem Steel FC / USL Match report

Match report: NY Red Bulls II 2-1 Bethlehem Steel

Substitute Armando Moreno’s second half curling strike beat Jake McGuire at his far post and propelled NYRB II to their third straight victory on Wednesday at Monclair State University Soccer Park.

Bethlehem headed east to do battle with rivals and fellow USL affiliate team New York Red Bulls II. Steel have found great success against their eastern conference foes as of late, including a thrilling two goal comeback to salvage a draw at Goodman Stadium just a month ago.

Both team’s lineups looked very different from that last time the two met. For Bethlehem it was most notably the new man up top. Well, kid, rather as the newly signed 18 year old Cameroonian Faris made his debut less than 48 hours after being introduced earlier this week.

For New York, it was a much more experienced lineup for head coach John Wolyneic as he fielded a squad featuring several MLS talents such as Derrick Etienne Jr. and Fidel Escobar. Escobar made his return to Red Bulls following his three appearances for Panama in their first ever World Cup.

Red Bulls’ experience and class were on full display in the opening minutes as the home team jumped on top of Steel early. Both teams enjoy setting their own tempo in games, but it was the home side that forced Steel back into their own defensive third for the first 10 minutes. Haitian international and NY Red Bull regular Derrick Etienne Jr. put Steel defenders on their heels with his blistering pace and mesmerizing footwork as he set up forward Ethan White for a few early chances in front of goal.

Steel held their own and looked to open New York on the counter attack. Derrick Jones took control of the midfield as he attempted to spring the speedy Michee Ngalina through the left side of the opposition’s backline. The Congolese teenager toyed with defenders and linked well with Faris as we got to see what exactly the new boy has to offer–speed.

By the 28th minute both teams were trading punches like for like as the game was busted wide open. While B.S.F.C.’s young forwards looked bright, often times throughout the match there was a disconnect between the midfielders and defensemen of Bethlehem as no one managed to mark a wide open man at the top of the 18.

2018 MLS SuperDraft pick  Brian White found himself with time and space at the top of the box and took full advantage of Bethlehem’s lapse in focus. The former Duke University picked out a darting Etienne who timed his run to perfection and dinked a shot around McGuire to give his side a 1-0 advantage.

NYRB II fed off of their newly found momentum and looked to see out the rest of the first 45 minutes.

In the dying seconds of the first half Steel pressed highly up the pitch, desperate for any kind of positive to bring into the locker room. In stoppage time they were able to find just that off the foot of Anthony Fontana. Steel earned a free kick in midfield that captain James Chambers took quickly and pinged a ball on a rope to Santi Moar in the left corner. Fontana made a looping run into the box after Santi Moar dragged center back Hassan Ndam into a wide position which allowed the attacking midfielder to slot right in and toe poke a shot into the far side netting.

Things were looking up for Bethlehem–at least during the 15 minute halftime break. Their momentum was short lived as Red Bull kicked off the second half just as they did in the first, looking the far superior side. Racking up shot after shot, chance after chance.

Midway into the half, both teams made substitutions in their attacks. For the boys in blue it was Ngalina who made way for Chris Nanco, who never really looked like making the same impact Michee did in the first half. As for New York, Amando Moreno joined Brian White up top and utterly flipped the match on its head, as if it wasn’t already.

Moreno made an instant impact when he forced keeper Jake McGuire into making his best save of the evening. From there the pressure ramped up even more. By the end of the match Red Bulls tallied a total of 25 shots to only 5 from Bethlehem. While most of those shots were from dangerous positions, the one that was the dagger came from an unexpected angle.

Bethlehem Steel were on the ropes in the 78th minute. Substitute Amando Moreno collected a ball at the top of the box, just left of the arc, surrounded by 3 Steel players. The league’s second leading goal scorer sharply dashed infield and fired a curling shot off McGuire’s outstretched left hand and into the top corner. From there NY comfortably saw out the remainder of the fixture and Steel fell short 2-1.

Steel remain in 11th place in the eastern conference and return to action next Thursday at home against Indy Eleven.

Three points:

Road woes

Bethlehem have only picked up 8 points from road matches this season, whereas they’ve earned a total 16 points from 8 undefeated matches at home.

New signing

Newest Steel signing, the 18 year old Faris from Cameroon, shined in the early going of this one, but faded out in the second half along with the rest of the Steel attack. It will be interesting to see how he gets on with the team as the season winds down. In the short term, I see Fabian Herbers as the best option at striker.

Josh Yaro’s return

The Union defender logged a solid 70 minutes as he makes strides in his effort to get back into the Union side following his concussion issues.

Lineups:

New York Red Bulls II

Ryan Meara (C); Ethan Kutler, Hassan Ndam, Fidel Escobar, Nico De Vera; Christopher Lema, Cristian Sleiker Casseres Yepes, Jared Stroud (Jordan Scarlett), Derrick Etienne Jr. (Amando Moreno), Andrew Tinari; Brian White(Tom Barlow)

Unused substitutes: Scott Levene, Steven Echevarria, Lucas Stauffer, Jose Aguinaga

Bethlehem Steel

Jake McGuire; Matt Real, Richie Marquez, Josh Yaro (Omar Holness), Matt Mahoney; James Chambers(C), Derrick Jones, Michee Ngalina (Chris Nanco), Anthony Fontana (Ben Ofeimu), Santi Moar; Faris Moumbagna

Unused substitutes: Drew Skundrich, Adian Apodaca, Brenden Aaronson, Tomas Romero

Scoring

New York Red Bulls II 28′ Derrick Etienne Jr. (Brian White)

Bethlehem Steel            45′ Anthony Fontana (Santi Moar)

New York Red Bulls II 78′ Amando Moreno (Christopher Lema)

Discipline

Bethlehem Steel 42′ Faris (yellow)

Bethlehem Steel 84′ Omar Holness (yellow)

 

 

 

 

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