USL Match report

Match report: Bethlehem Steel 0-1 Indy Eleven

Featured photo courtesy of Bethlehem Steel

Under the full noonday sun at Goodman Stadium, Bethlehem Steel FC played Indy Eleven evenly for 85 minutes before losing Jack McInerney on a corner kick in the 86th and losing the match 1-0.

There is no substitute for a proven goal scorer. McInerney’s uncontested twisting head flick found the back post perfectly with the second of Indy’s two shots on goal, beating Steel zone defense that did not react at all to his movement because key people were ball-watching.

The late-morning start time allowed attendance by local summer campers but meant the sun sucked the life out of the game. Both teams sought every opportunity to hydrate, even though conditions did not qualify for official hydration breaks until the second half.

Indy head coach Martin Rennie seemed to have instructed his side to win one-on-one duels in their defensive third on their flanks, as neither Santi Moar nor Michee Ngalina were able to break free consistently.

The contrast between McInerney — a rookie with the Union nine years ago — and Steel rookie Faris was strong. The young African has a much higher ceiling, but he also has a long way to go to get there.

Faris has clearly not had extensive practice with the team. At least twice he and his feeder did not anticipate what each other were going to do. He also is learning what it means to play against full-grown men.

Faris’s promise is intriguing, as an elite short-distance change of pace with the ball at his feet, good pace, and the right instincts off the turn offer hope. But he generated no shots in his 45 minutes, creating one chance for someone else.

Indy’s most dangerous chances from the run of play came from deep through balls to vertical runners breaking the final line. One such chance in the 37th minute would have scored if Jake McGuire had not employed the unusual tactic of a diving face-save. At least twice further Indy shooters had time and space in front of the lonesome keeper but failed to put the attempts on frame.

Only once did Bethlehem generate a comparable level of threat. Right after Indy scored, Aidan Apodaca’s strike aimed at the near post from inside the six slid just inches wide.

The team was clearly devastated emotionally after the match. Head coach Brendan Burke said little post game. His post-game opening statement, normally thoughtful and thorough, was dramatically terse, these three words, “Not good enough,” before he opened it to questions. Players speaking with the press were comparably laconic, with similar, understandable, volcano-like non-verbal affects.

Bethlehem next hosts fellow MLS 2 player development side Atlanta 2 at 5:00 PM Sunday, July 29 at Goodman Stadium. The boys from Georgia may run into an angry buzz saw.

Three points

Two positive notes: On a day when many Bethlehem players simply did not find their usual competitive edges, Matt Real gave a competent, reliable performance at left back. Josh Yaro also deserves mention for reminding us what he can produce if concussion has been avoided and the rust knocked off.

Creativity: There was no lack of effort from Adam Najem and Anthony Fontana at the number 8 and the number 10 central midifield positions. What was lacking was chance creation. Indy’s defense and game plan undoubtedly deserve considerable credit for suppressing it, but creativity was missing today. There were 10 Bethlehem shots with four on target, but only one felt like a serious threat to score.

Eighty-three: In coach Burke’s Bethlehem career he has now started 83 different lineups. Not one of 2018’s has been the same, so far.

Lineups:

Bethlehem

Jake McGuire*; Olivier Mbaizo*, Josh Yaro*, Richie Marquez*, Matt Real*; James Chambers ©, Adam Najem*; Santi Moar, Anthony Fontana* (Drew Skundrich 78’), Michee Ngalina (Chris Nanco 63’); Faris (Aidan Apodaca ’46). Unused substitutes: Tomas Romero**; Brandon Aubrey, Matt Maloney, Omar Holness. *first team player **academy player

Indianapolis

Fon Williams; Kevin Venegas, Carlyle Mitchell, Karl Ouimette, Tyler Pasher (Reiner Ferreira ’39); Seth Moses, Mathew Watson ©, Juan Guerra, Zach Steinberger, Soony Saad (Jack McInerney 72’); Eugene Starikov. Unused Substitutes: Ben Lundgaard; Amass Amankona, , Brad Rusin, Nico Matern, , Ben Speas.

Goals:

Indianapolis 86th minute McInerney (Steinberger)

Cards:

Indianapolis       Yellow         8th minute       Guerra (foul)
Indianapolis       Yellow       43rd minute       Ferreira (foul)
Indianapolis       Yellow       73rd minute       Starikov (foul)

One Comment

  1. WeAreSteel2K18 says:

    Why the hell does this team continue to cross the ball on EVERY possession? 9 times out of 10 there’s no one in the box and the other time the cross goes nowhere near the player.

    ————-

    We have fast, skilled dribblers in the attack. Keep the ball on the ground. Do some 1-2s. I’m seriously fed up with the gameplan. Coach Burke had really grown on me for what he has been able to get out of this club, but now I’m really frustrated with him. If it’s not him telling the guys to cross, then he needs to tell them to knock it off.

    ————-

    Looks like the best we can hope for now is sneaking into the 8th spot and lose on the road at Cincy. Frustrating. This season could have been better.

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