USL Match report

Match Report: New York Red Bulls 4-0 Bethlehem Steel

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

In a scoreline reproducing the disastrous third game of Bethlehem Steel FC’s existence back in 2016, the New York Red Bulls 2 dismantled an undermanned Steel side 4-0 in North Jersey on Friday night.

Red Bulls defensive center midfielder Kyle Zajec scored a brace midway through the first half in the 26th and 31st minutes. Mathias Jorgensen added a penalty kick in the 65th minute, and a Marcus Epps rebound off Bethlehem keeper Tomas Romero deflected off Walter Cortes into the Steel’s net in the 76th to complete the debacle.

Keystone Sports’ policy of staffing Bethlehem with barely more than the league-required minimum roster number of players is the root cause of the loss.

  • Academy players were not effective when called on to step into the breach.
  • No extra first-teamers were available as the Union are away amidst a tight schedule necessitating squad rotation.
  • And the U20 World Cup depleted overall depth by three.

Bethlehem simply did not have enough appropriate bodies.

New York controlled and disrupted the midfield as long as Bethlehem played Chavany Willis high as the point of a four-man midfield diamond. When part way through the second half Willis dropped back next to Chambers in a familiar more defensive role, Bethlehem began to generate occasional coherence and possession. But the horses were long since out of a barn that was burning to the ground.

Faris and Ben Ofeimu were suspended for red cards against Louisville, and Cole Turner has been suspended until the June 22nd match against Tampa Bay Rowdies, at which point his commitment to the United States Naval Academy is imminent. The importance of all three was demonstrated conclusively.

New York outshot Bethlehem 22 to six for the match and out-possessed them 61:39. Red Bulls 2 do not play possession soccer in the classic sense. They achieved these figures playing for the fast-breaking long ball. Incidentally, New York striker Mathias Jorgensen consistently created separation from the Bethlehem back line on those long balls.

Bethlehem return to Talen Energy Stadium on Sunday, June 9th, hosting third-place Nashville SC. Kickoff is at 6 p.m.

Three Points

Center back depth: Mike Pellegrino of the Academy made his 2019 regular season debut today at left center back, but pulled up lame in the fifth minute. He did not play in 2018 due to illness, but appeared twice in 2017, starting and playing well in the midfield both times. Dante Huckaby of the U17s made his professional debut in the seventh minute for the injured Pellegrino.

Strikers & keepers: Yomi Scintu got his first start but went down hurt in the 27th minute and was replaced by Shanyder Borgelin who showed plenty of grit for the remainder of the match. Matt Freese started and made four saves in the first half. Tomas Romero replaced him at half-time, presumably in a pre-planned moved dictated by the medical staff, as it used up Bethlehem’s third substitution at the beginning of the 46th minute.

Four: In its four regular seasons, Bethlehem has given up four goals four times, twice to New York, once to Charlotte in 2017, and once to Pittsburgh last year.  And in the 2017 playoffs, Louisville stroked four. To date Bethlehem have never given up more.


Bethlehem 4-2-2-0-2 LR: Matt Freese*(Tomas Romero^ 45′); Walter Cortes, Jamoi Topey, Mike Pellegrino^ (Dante Huckaby^ 7’), Nate Harriel^; James Chambers ©, Chavany Willis; Anthony Fontana*, Issa Rayyan; Michee Ngalina*,Yomi Scintu (Shanyder Borgelin 27’). Unused Substitutes: ;, Selmir Miscic, Axel Picazo^. International Duty: Matt Real*, Mark McKenzie*. Out: Saed Diaz, Steve Kingue, Zach Zandi. Suspended: Faris, Ben Ofeimu, Cole Turner^. *=Union player ^=Academy player

New York 4-3-3: Evan Louro; Rece Buckmaster, Preston Kilwien, Jordan Scarlett © (Chris Tiao 73’), Edgardo Rito (Janos Loebe 59’); Christopher Lema, Kyle Zajec, Jared Stroud (Salvatore Esposito 70’); Marcus Epps, Sebastian Elney, Mathias Jorgensen. Unused Substitutes: Rashid Nuhu; Jeciel Cedeno, Nick Schimbeno.


New York      26th minute      Kyle Zajec (Jared Stroud)
New York      31st minute       Kyle Zajec
New York      65th minute      Mathias Jorgensen (PK)
New York      76th minute      Walter Cortes (own goal)


Bethlehem    24th minute      Yellow      James Chambers (foul)
New York      69th minute      Yellow      Jordan Scarlett (foul)
Bethlehem    84th minute      Yellow      Jamoi Topey


Ref: Elton Garcia      AR1: Tyler Wyrostek      AR2: Justen Lopez      4TH: Wojciech Gluszak

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