USL - Bethlehem Steel FC / USL Match report

Match report: Bethlehem Steel 0-3 Indy Eleven

Photo: Rob Simmons

In the first-ever Union-Steel doubleheader at Talen Energy Stadium, the Steel lost to the Indy Eleven in front of a larger home crowd than normal. What started out as a back-and-forth match shifted to an early 2-0 lead for the Eleven as the Steel slipped a bit defensively and couldn’t generate many chances throughout the entire match.

The match started with both teams moving up and down the full length of the field, although possession favored Indy in the middle third of the field. The first chance of the match came from the Eleven’s Dane Kelly in just the first minute, but Carlos Miguel Coronel made a diving save to prevent an early goal.

Cole Turner made an excellent block to prevent a breakaway for Indy in the tenth, and shortly after Matt Real had two cross blocked attempts that were the first real chances for the Steel. After that, Bethlehem really started to settle down in the fifteenth minute, retaining possession more, finishing passes and generating good scoring chances.

But the Eleven seemed to figure out the Steel in about the 20th minute, and the Steel once again slipped to allow a pair of early goals. Indy opened up the scoring off of a scramble from a corner in the 26th, as defender Neveal Hackshaw put the ball just past the reach of Coronel after the Steel failed to clear the ball from the box. The visitors scored again just two minutes later on a breakaway that Kelly buried for his 70th career goal in the league.

Zandi almost cut Indy’s lead in half in the 32nd as he sent a rocket into Hackshaw, who just got in front of the shot to deflect it out. Zandi and Ngalina began floating around the midfield, becoming a bit desperate to create any chance and score. A little bit later, Saed Diaz missed his chance to cut the lead in half in the 41st, hitting the ball just wide. The Steel just couldn’t seem to hit their target in the first half as they only had two real chances and no shots on target.

Brendan Burke made his first substitution in the 49th minute, getting Faris on the field, who immediately got involved in an attempt that Evan Newton grabbed out of the air. The Steel had another chance just three minutes later as Zandi had yet another shot blocked from the edge of the box after Shnayder Borgelin carried the ball up the right side and got in a cross.

Burke then brought on Chavany Willis who pushed up even with Faris, sitting on a higher line than usual. The Steel were desperate for a goal throughout the second half, pushing up more as the Eleven seemed content to sit back more and allow Bethlehem to attack more and retain more possession, while relying on the quick counterattack to move the ball out of their half. Indy Eleven made it 3-0 on the counterattack when the Steel’s back line was left exposed and beaten thoroughly by Tyler Pasher who ran onto a long ball and beat Coronel, who had left his box to charge the attacker.

Despite allowing three goals and facing only eight shots, Coronel was forced to make some great saves throughout the match. In the 35th minute he had to keep the Eleven from scoring their third, diving down to block Kelly’s low shot. Then in the 68th, he was caught a bit off of his line, but managed to punch the ball over the crossbar. He was caught more than once off of his line this match, and the Eleven made him pay once.

The last twenty minutes of the match dissolved into some chippy fouls and yellow cards as the Steel were left frustrated. The Eleven’s back line held strong throughout the entire match as the Steel’s chances decreased in both quality and quantity, finishing with 13 shots and only one shot on target.

The Steel have next weekend off before returning to action on the road against Loudon United on Friday, May 3. Kickoff at D.C. United’s Audi Field is at 7:30 p.m.

Three Points

Different line-up. As usual, Burke made some big changes to his starting squad, keeping only five of the same players from Tuesday’s match against Charlotte (Coronel, Ofeimu, Real, Ngalina and Jones). While Tuesday’s lineup favored the younger Steel players to rest some of his usual starters, this line-up was more of a mixed bag. Facing injuries and playing two other matches in the last week, Burke started another fairly young and inexperienced squad that Indy could read easily for the majority of the match.

Missing Rayyan. Out with a hamstring strain, Issa Rayyan was missed in this match. Steve Kingue filled Rayyan’s usual right back position, and unlike Rayyan, he preferred to sit back. This meant that Ngalina was tracking back a bit more than normal and the attacking style and playmaking abilities on the right side weren’t there for the Steel. Zandi and Chambers stepped up, trying to create some chances for Bethlehem and were the club’s two biggest playmakers from the midfield.

Defensive blunders. Both Steve Kingue and Matt Real struggled a bit in this match on the outside. Cole Turner and Ben Ofeimu looked fairly solid in the center, making some much needed clearances and passes that led to some of the Steel’s counterattacks. But the entire back line was beaten badly in Indy’s third goal. The outside defenders couldn’t really read plays well or block balls, and were often caught chasing the Eleven’s wingers down the sidelines.

Line-ups

Bethlehem: Carlos Miguel Coronel; Benjamin Ofeimu, Steve Kingue, Cole Turner, Matt Real; Zach Zandi, Michee Ngalina, Derrick Jones (Yomi Scintu 76′), James Chambers; Saed Diaz (Faris 49′), Shnayder Borgelin (Chavanay Willis 56′). Unused substitutes: Walter Cortes, Sergio Santos, Nathan Harriel, Kristopher Shakes.

Indy: Evan Newton; Ayoze, Patrick Barrett, Alex Crognale, Neveal Hackshaw; Tyler Pasher (Kenney Walker 81′), Nico Matern, Tyler Gibson, Macauley King (Matthew Watson 64′); Thomas Enevoldsen, Dane Kelly (Alioune Diakhate 90′). Unused substitutes: Karl Oumiette, Kim Do-Heon, Mitchell Osmond, Jordan Farr

Goals

Indy Eleven: Neveal Hackshaw (Patrick Barrett), 26′

Indy Eleven: Dane Kelly (Ayoze), 28′

Indy Eleven: Tyler Pasher (Nico Matern), 73′

Cards

Bethlehem Steel: Ben Ofeimu – yellow card, 53′

Bethlehem Steel: Faris – yellow card, 80′

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