USL Match report

Match report: Bethlehem Steel 1-1 Atlanta United II

Photo: Paul Rudderow

On a cold, windy Sunday night at Talen Energy Stadium in an exchange of free kick goals, Bethlehem fought back in the second half to tie Atlanta United II 1-1.

Essential to Steel’s success was Atlanta’s Yosef Samuel’s failure to convert a deserved penalty in the 56th minute, beating Bethlehem goalkeeper Tomas Romero but striking the left post rather than the net. Bethlehem’s Jamoi Tapey equalized eight minutes later, assisted by Matt Real.

The second key to the match was Romero’s strong play, who saved three dangerous shots on goal in the second half alone.

Atlanta II dominated possession for the match 64% to 36%, not a surprise given Bethlehem’s new style for 2019. They did so especially for the game’s first 40 minutes when they kept Bethlehem pinned in their own half. A high defensive restraining line compacted the midfield and allowed Atlanta to clog it.

After halftime Bethlehem began to break out more frequently and threaten the Atlanta goal, particularly after the emotional lift of the Georgians’ missed PK.

Head coach Brendan Burke made a double substitution at the 60th minute, bringing on Walter Cortes at left center mid for Steve Kingue at right defensive center mid, moving Chavany Willis back into Kingue’s slot, and bringing on forward Patrick Bohui in a straight swap for Shanyder Borgelin.

Burke’s adjustments led to greater Bethlehem offensive success in the midfield. It is the third time that Cortes has proven effective as a midfielder rather than in his established role as a left back. Up until his entry Bethlehem felt the absence of the injured Zach Zandi quite noticeably.

The other major tactical difference for the Steel between the halves was James Chambers thrusting forward into the attack more prominently.

Bethlehem threw caution to the winds in order to climb back in and Mr. Post, together with keeper Romero, allowed them to succeed. The last half hour was wide open offensive soccer from both sides, very direct both ways with each team having more than one meaningful chance to score.

Bethlehem next plays Sunday, May 19, hosting Ottawa Fury at 6 p.m. The match begins a sequence of six consecutive games against teams ahead of them in the Eastern Conference table. The exact nature of Zandi’s stress reaction in his right foot and the recovery rate for Issa Rayyan’s left hamstring will be important, as both starters were missed Sunday evening.

Three points:

Atlanta’s goal: The visitors got on the scoresheet with a low service drive to the near corner of the six-yard box that was head-flicked into the net. Typically, once such a service is flicked it is impossible to stop. There is always someone assigned to that space to defend such service and that individual missed his assignment.

2019: So far this season Bethlehem has won only when a first-team player has scored one or more goals.

Teenagers: It is not yet at all clear that the youth emphasis for 2019 is going to result in conventional win-loss respectability. So far, the effects of substituting for missing starters is mixed. Burke has not yet had enough opportunities to evaluate his bench fairly, but his initial impressions of some cannot be all that favorable.


Bethlehem (4-2-2-0-2) L-R: Tomas Romero^; Matt Real*, Ben Ofeimu, Jamoi Topey, Olivier Mbaizo*; James Chambers ©, Steve Kingue (Walter Cortes 60’); Chavany Willis, Michee Ngalina*; Faris, Shanyder Borgelin (Patrick Bohui^ 60’). Unused Substitutes: Kris Shakes^; Nate Harriel^, Yomi Scintu. The Rest: Selmir Miscic, Issa Rayyan, Zach Zandi, Cole Turner^ (cross-league suspension), Saed Diaz (international duty). * = Union player ^ = Academy player

Atlanta (4-2-3-1): Dylan Castanheira; Mikey Ambrose (Will Vint 45’), Jack Metcalf, Tyler Ruthven, Laurence Wyke; Anderson Asiedu, Jose Hernandez; Luiz Fernando, Laurent Kissiedou, Jackson Conway (Patrick Okonkwo 74’); Yosef Samuel (Alessandro Castro 65’). Unused Substitutes: Marzuq Puckerin; Kendall Edwards, Kevin Barajas, , , Bienvenue Kanakiman,.


Atlanta.           11th minute       Laurence Wyke (Jack Metcalf)
Bethlehem      64th minute.     Jamoi Topey (Matt Real)


Bethlehem.      20th minute.      Yellow.      James Chambers (foul)
Atlanta.             59th minute.      Yellow.      Anderson Asiedu (foul)
Atlanta.             72nd minute      Yellow.      Jose Hernandez (foul)
Atlanta.             81st minute        Yellow.      Will Vint (foul)
Bethlehem.       83rd minute      Yellow.      Walter Cortes (time wasteing)
Atlanta.             90th minute       Yellow.      Laurence Wyke (foul)

Officials:    Ref: Lorant Varga    AR1: CJ Morgante    AR2: Ryan Graves    4TH: Joshua Encarnacion

One Comment

  1. I hope the Steel are able to find success this season, even with the refocus on being a younger team than last year…

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