USL - Bethlehem Steel FC / USL Match report

Match report: Bethlehem Steel 1-2 Charlotte Independence

Photo Credit: Marjorie Elzey

Part two of the doubleheader in Chester was another disappointment. Despite having a man advantage for most of the match and coming back once, Bethlehem couldn’t capitalize and fell to Charlotte, 2-1.

In the sixth minute, Aaron Maund buried it behind Matt Freese to put Charlotte up early. It was some poor defending that led to the goal, sneaking just inside the far post. However, immediately after the quick goal, the Steel defense came together and looked stronger than in recent matches.

Just a few minutes later, Bethlehem tied it with a goal from Faris. Bethlehem was awarded a penalty kick in the 13th minute and Faris took the kick. Brandon Miller guessed correctly and got a hand on the ball, but the force behind Faris’ shot had the ball hitting the back of the net anyways.

The Steel gained the man advantage in the 31st minute when Alex Martinez and James Chambers got into a fight over a throw-in. Martinez earned a straight red card while Chambers was let off with a warning. Despite the man advantage, Bethlehem still were going up and down the pitch with Charlotte, with just a slight leg up on possession. Faris had a few chances to take the lead, but everything was stopped by Miller, and the score at the end of the first half was 1-1.

Much like the end of the first half, the second half had a lot of back and forth with an advantage for the Steel. With a few chances, Bethlehem were pushing for another goal as Charlotte began to tire. But the Independence had another goal in them and Hugh Roberts was able to head a cross from Abdoulie Mansally between the post and a diving Freese. The Steel continued to press for another tying goal, but much like the Union earlier that night, had difficulty finishing.

Charlotte nearly added to their lead with a free kick in the 83rd minute that Freese had to push over the crossbar. Freese came up big again in the 88th minute, coming off his line to block a shot from a breakaway Charlotte attacker. Unable to ever really use the man advantage to their benefit, Bethlehem couldn’t score their second tying goal of the night and fell 2-1 in their last home match.

Three Points

No Rayyan, but there was Freese. Missing from the lineup and subs was frequent starter, Issa Rayyan. Bethlehem’s utility player was listed as questionable for a back strain and was missed tonight. However, Matt Freese did make his return to the starting lineup which is great news for the Union as he recovers from his injury. Freese played two weeks ago against Indy, but did not play last week.

Stronger defense. Despite allowing another early goal, the Steel’s back line looked its best in weeks. Following two big losses to Tampa Bay and Memphis where Bethlehem allowed a total of 11 goals, the Steel needed a strong defensive showing. Cole Turner looked especially strong tonight, and had a few timely tackles and blocks.

No playoffs. If you didn’t already know, there’s no real chance for the Steel to qualify for the playoffs. Sitting at 14th in the conference, Bethlehem have 31 points and need 48 to qualify. The last three matches for the Steel are tough, all teams are currently higher on the table, with one fighting for a playoff spot and another fighting for a stronger playoff spot.

Lineups

Bethlehem Steel (4-4-2)

Matt Freese; Walter Cortes, Cole Turner, Nathan Harriel, Olivier Mbaizo; Zach Zandi, James Chambers (c), Chavany Willis (Saed Diaz 71′), Axel Picazo (Steve Kingue 81′); Faris, Michee Ngalina
Unused Substitutes: Todd Morton, Ben Ofeimu, Dante Huckaby, Shanyder Borgelin, Selmir Misic

Charlotte Independence (4-2-3-1)

Brandon Miller, Abdoulie Mansally, Aaron Maund, Hugh Roberts, Chad Poarch (Clay Dimick 25′); Ricardo Bocanegra, Dominic Oduro; Valentin Sabella (Jake Areman 64′), Enzo Martinez (c), Alex Martinez; Jorge Herrera (Niki Jackson 79′)
Unused Substitutes: Brandon Barnes, Steven Thicot, Isaac Angking

Scoring Summary

CHA: Aaron Maund (Enzo Martinez) – 6′

BET: Faris (penalty kick) – 14′

CHA: Hugh Roberts (Abdoulie Mansally) – 67′

Disciplinary Summary

CHA: Hugh Roberts – yellow – 12′

CHA: Alex Martinez – red – 31′

BET: James Chambers – yellow – 31′

BET: Axel Picazo – yellow – 69′

CHA: Abdoulie Mansally – yellow – 72′

BET: Steve Kingue – yellow – 82′

One Comment

  1. Probably more disappointed by the effort here than for the Union, given that Steel was up a man for the last hour. They seemed even more reluctant than the Union were to take a shot.

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