Philadelphia Union II / USL Match report

Match report: Ottawa Fury 1-1 Bethlehem Steel

Screenshot by Sara Griswold from ESPN+

In their second to last match of the season, the Steel tied the Fury, 1-1 in a rainy afternoon match in Ottawa. The upside was that the Steel were finally able to shake their losing streak, but having been eliminated from playoff contention, there isn’t much else to play for. The tie didn’t help either team in terms of positioning on the table, with the Steel now at 32 points and in 15th place, and Ottawa, who have already clinched their playoff spot, still sitting in 8th place.

Ottawa was in control the first half of the match. There was some back and forth to start, but the Fury had the best chances on goal. In the 20th minute it looked like Ottawa would get the first goal of the match, having scored, but ruled as a handball and ruled no goal. Continuing their attacks, a free kick from about 25 yards from goal in the 26th minute went just over crossbar and Todd Morton’s hand.

Bethlehem was able to withstand Ottawa’s onslaught of attacks with a strong defense. Reading the Fury’s attacks early, the Steel were able to shut down Ottawa at the top of the box and force  Cole Turner looked especially strong this match as one of the Steel’s center backs. Turner was instrumental in stopping attacks and winning the majority of both aerial and free balls. However, Ottawa was dominating the first half and able to get the go-ahead goal shortly before halftime. Hadji Barry beat Steve Kingue on the endline and got the pass off to Carl Howarth, who was on the six yard box and open enough to put it away. The first half ended with Ottawa up, 1-0.

The Steel struggled to generate their own attacks all match. With too many turnovers in their midfield, Bethlehem had only a couple chances in the first half, but improved in the second half. Coming out strong after halftime, Faris had a few shots that missed the target, but were the first shots really registered for the team. The Steel dominated the second half, continuing to pressure the Fury’s back line with a few chances off corner kicks and runs by Faris throughout the second half, but nothing went in until the 71st minute. Faris was able to head in a weird bouncing rebound from a poor clearance attempt from Callum Irving and lack of defending from Ottawa’s entire defense in the box.

Following Bethlehem’s tying goal throughout the last fifteen minutes of the match, both teams were desperate for another goal to get three points. Both teams went back and forth, with chances on both sides of the pitch. Ottawa looked a little more desperate and had some better chances, but everything was either blocked or hit off target. Neither side was able to get the winning goal and the match ended in a 1-1 draw.

Three points

Cole Turner. The teenager looked good this match, but he’s also looking more and more comfortable as the Steel’s go-to center back with every match. On a Union pre-contract, Turner is a promising big, aggressive, young defender within Philly’s organization. Originally a midfielder/defender, it might have taken him some time to settle in, but Cole Turner has definitely been finding his groove as one of the Steel’s center backs.

Turnovers at midfield. With an added midfielder in their formation, the Steel should have had an easier time moving the ball through the middle of the field. Veteran captain James Chambers did not have a great match this afternoon – he didn’t provide his usual strong work off the ball and when he did have the ball, he had too many poor passes. Notably missing from this match entirely again was the ever-adaptable midfielder, Issa Rayyan.

Playing the teenagers. Eliminated from the playoffs, Bethlehem aren’t really playing for points or positioning, but more for experience. Which is why Burke started eight teenagers this afternoon. The average age of the starting eleven was 20.2 years old, 19 years old without Chambers in the lineup.


Bethlehem Steel (4-4-2)

Todd Morton; Walter Cortes, Steve Kingue (Dante Huckaby 77′), Cole Turner, Nathan Harriel; Zach Zandi, James Chambers (c), Axel Picazo, Selmir Miscic (Danny Flores 64′); Faris (Saed Diaz 90’+2′), Shanyder Borgelin
Unused substitutes: Ben Martino

Ottawa Fury (4-3-3)

Callum Irving; Onua Obasi, Thomas Meilleur-Giguere, Nana Attakora, Jamar Dixon (Kevin Oliveira 60′); Wal Fall (Jeremy Gagnon-Lapere 60′), Charlie Ward, Thiago; Hadji Barry, Mour Samb, Carl Haworth (c)
Unused substitutes: Mannella, Monsalve, Daniels, Tissot, Barnathan

Scoring Summary

OTT: Howarth (Barry) – 40′

BET: Faris – 71′

Disciplinary Summary

BET: Steve Kingue – yellow – 43′

BET: Zach Zandi – yellow – 78′

OTT: Charlie Ward – yellow – 90’+5′

One Comment

  1. Old Soccer Coach says:

    Issa Rayyan continues to be listed as questionable with a back strain, for those following such details.
    Noteworthy that they only had three field players as substitutes on the bench, two of them teenagers from the Academy.
    Making the effort that much more commendable is that the group played in Atlanta — actually Kennesaw State near the city — on Wednesday night.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *