Photo courtesy of Bethlehem Steel FC.
Bethlehem Steel FC controlled its preseason friendly against Junior Lone Star FC on Wednesday to collect a 7-0 win over the NPSL side at YSC Sports in Wayne.
Santi Moar and Philadelphia Union Academy player Justin McMaster each netted two goals for the winners, while Josh Heard recorded three assists.
The match played out less like a normal 90-minute match and more like two separate friendlies, the first a 4-0 Bethlehem victory through 60 minutes, and the second being a mostly Philadelphia Union Academy side winning 3-0.
Despite the scoreline, Junior Lone Star remained dangerous on the counterattack throughout, and for the first half of the 60 minutes it was a fairly competitive compact intelligent game. Junior Lone Star players saw two goals disallowed for offside calls, in a result that should not surprise readers given the two sides’ respective levels of conditioning. Five of the seven goals came after the difference began to show.
For the first 30 to 35 minutes, Bethlehem’s sustained heavy pressure pinned the visitors against their goal while allowing only a rare foray the other way. The Steel’s central midfielders and central defenders recycled Lone Star clearances as the visitors defended with nine men and the keeper inside their own 25.
Only when the Steel midfield pressure began to tire and Lone Star raised their game did a pattern of stretched end-to-end play begin to emerge. Lone Star began to get some shots, but the Steel got more, usually had more numbers forward, and got finishers onto the ends of their crosses.
Bethlehem’s attack came primarily through the right channel, a tendency head coach Brendan Burke said he addressed at halftime.
James Chambers found Heard on the right, who found Yosef Samuel for the first goal roughly 11 minutes in.
Then Moar stripped a Lone Star defensive center mid, drove into the center moving left to right, and shot back to the left post, fluttering the keeper’s fingers for the second goal unassisted in roughly the 21st minute.
Ten minutes after that, Chambers chipped delicately and accurately to Heard on the right, who in turn chipped forcefully back across goal mouth to Moar’s waiting head for the score.
The wind was out of Junior Lone Star’s sails, but to the visitors’ credit, they rocked the Steel back on their heels right off the tap and nearly scored. Had the shot been on frame, it would have been 3-1.
But the alarm dispelled complacency. Two proud programs intensified their competitiveness and a spat broke out between the sides before calmer heads on both sides prevailed. The referee labored with the protagonists, and no cards were issued.
Shortly thereafter, Heard found Seku Conneh for the fourth score.
Three minutes later, in the 60th minute a mass substitution changed the scrimmage from Junior Lone Star versus the Steel to Junior Lone Star versus the Union Academy. Literally, 11 replaced 11.
In the resulting confusion, Junior Lone Star put the ball in the back of the net but were disallowed for offside.
Six minutes after that, striker Amoy Brown got behind the defense in the right channel and crossed to Justin McMaster, who had outpaced his mark and slotted home.
That strike was followed by a Chris Nanco score assisted by the academy’s Dawson McCartney.
And nine minutes from time, Academy right back Nyk Sessock flew down the right channel and crossed to McMaster, who was wide open for a tap in.
Near the death, Junior Lone Star netted, only to have the goal waved off due to an offside call.
- Moar vs. McMaster: The combination on the left flank of Moar’s smooth quick technical feet penetrating the center from the wing and McMaster’s afterburners to green space behind the defense will give Brendan Burke a nice dilemma: Which one to start and which one to bring in as the change of pace?
- Heard impresses: Heard’s three assists set down a significant marker against which Anthony Fontana must measure himself should he reemerge into the Steel scene when the Union come back from Florida next week.
- Kumbaya: In the non-soccer highlight of the event, during a loud second half dispute among proud, competitive men over whose elbows had done what to whom, members of the Steel’s supporters group, the East End Army, serenaded all present with an impromptu chorus of the well-known peace anthem, “Kumbaya, my lord, kumbaya.”
Bethlehem: Billy Heavner (trialist from UMBC): Matt Mahoney (trialist from Temple), Hugh Roberts , Mark McKenzie, Charlie Reymann (trialist from Kentucky); James Chambers, Josue Monge; Yosef Samuel, Josh Heard, Santi Moar; Seku Conneh.
Substitute lineup entering en masse at the 60th minute: Jahmali Waite; Nyk Sessock, Evan Godfrey, Freeman Dwamena, Matt Real; Alex Happi (trialist from Clemson), Darius Lewis; Chris Nanco, Dawson McCartney, Justin McMaster; Amoy Brown.
The following Academy players substituted on at the 80th minute: Tiger Graham for Justin McMaster, Omar Ayala for Evan Godfrey, and Kalil ElMedkhar for Darius Lewis.
Junior Lone Star‘s roster for the match (specific lineups not available): Monyan, Toure; Donzo, Mason, Mayah, N’Guessan, Trzeniowski; Assah, A. Fane, Y. Fane, Mulbah, Sheriff, V. Slueue, Sow, Turay; Allison, Ba, Boway, Chelleh, Karpeh Jr., Torh, Walleekendeh.