USL / USL - Bethlehem Steel FC / USL Match report

Match Report: Bethlehem Steel FC 1 – Pittsburgh Riverhounds 1

Photo by Bethlehem Steel FC

In a high-character performance while facing some unusual challenges, Bethlehem Steel tied Pittsburgh Riverhounds 1-1 Saturday evening at Goodman Stadium.

For the first time in 2017 the Steel played without any Philadelphia Union players. Furthermore, none of the Academy field players providing depth on the bench had ever stepped onto the pitch for the Steel because the more familiar, experienced players have either begun summer classes at their universities or are enjoying a last family vacation before college.

Pittsburgh striker and former Ocean City Nor’easter Chevaughn Walsh scored in the 24th minute on a nice assist from right back Shannon Gomez who had penetrated the end line and dished back to the wide-open shooter.

Two minutes later, Steel captain and elder statesman defensive center midfielder James Chambers was clattered down in the box while receiving an outside-channel to outside channel inch-perfect service. Chambers hit the subsequent penalty hard to the left of the Riverhounds goalkeeper Keasel Broome, and Broome had no chance whatsoever.

The Steel defense received noteworthy help from Mr. Crossbar and Mrs. Goalpost at least three times, but the youngest player on the field, Steel starting goalie Tomas Romero, read several plays well, made all the expected saves. Romero ended the game with a point blank save against a close-in shot, giving up a rebound but smothering it to the sound of the final whistle.

The Steel played for the counter from the start, hoping to find Chris Nanco in green space behind the Pittsburgh defense. But Hounds center backs Jamal Jack and Tobi Adelwole both have pace sufficient to match Nanco.

The Steel’s back four maintained tight spacing in the center to restrict Walsh and fellow striker Corey Hertzog, leaving considerable space in the wide channels. Pittsburgh’s two more advanced midfielders, captain Kevin Kerr and Romeo Parkes, both tended to play pinched into the center. Hounds left back and former Steel player Taylor Washington provided little threat on his side. Right back Shannon Gomez was marginally better, making a nice play to create Pittsburgh’s goal in what was an exception to his normal pattern.

Bethlehem’s “character players” were center stage today. They lived up to coach Burke’s label for them. All stepped up. All understood their responsibilities. All fought for each other to the very end. Their fans, their coaches and their organization should be proud.

Three points

Youth: When Brenden Aaronson came on for the injured Chris Wingate in the 42nd minute, The Steel had their second sixteen-year-old on the pitch (Tomas Romero). At first, Aaronson was clearly overmatched, a boy playing among men. By the end of the game he had responded more effectively to the size and strength of the USL professionals.

Streaking Steel: The undefeated streak lives on. Bethlehem plays at Richmond next Saturday night in southern Virginia. They are 8-6-3 with 27 points. They lie fifth in the table, even with FC Cincinnati on points but ahead on games won, and one point behind Tampa Bay.

Pittsburgh’s schedule: The Riverhounds have an older starting midfield and next have three games in eight days against teams at the top of the eastern conference table. Otherwise coach Dave Brandt’s decision to substitute for Kevin Kerr shortly after he and Romeo Parkes had begun to combine together in the central channel of the midfield makes little sense. Their joint threat forced Brendan Burke to move Josh Heard from the number ten to the number eight, switching with youngster Brenden Aaronson and heavily reducing any semblance of Steel offense through possession in the central channel.

Lineups:

Bethlehem: Tomas Romero**; Matt Real, Matt Mahoney, Hugh Roberts, Charlie Reymann; Chris Wingate (Brenden Aaronson** 42’), James Chambers (C); Yosef Samuel (Tiger Graham** 66’), Josh Heard, Santi Moar (Seth Kuhn** 83′); Chris Nanco. Unused substitutes: Eoin Gawrownski**; Freeman Dwamena**, Nyk Sessock**, Amoy Brown. ** Academy Player

Pittsburgh: Keasel Broome; Shannon Gomez, Tobi Adewole, Jamal Jack, Taylor Washington; Victor Souto (Kay Banjo 83’), Kevin Kerr (C) (Kenroy Howell 66’), Danny Earls (Stephen Okai 59’), Romeo Parkes; Chevaughn Walsh, Corey Hertzog. Unused substitutes: Trey Mitchell; Gale Agbossoumonde, Michael Green, Jack Thompson.

Scoring Summary:

Pittsburgh.        23:16          Chevaughn Walsh (Shannon Gomez)
Bethlehem         24:55         James Chambers (PK)

Disciplinary Summary:

Pittsburgh         34th         Jamal Jack (foul)
Bethlehem         36th         Santi Moar (hand ball)
Pittsburgh         43rd         Danny Earls (foul)
Pittsburgh          76th         Victor Souto (foul)

Referee: Lorant Varga

3 Comments

  1. el Pachyderm says:

    Having quite a few teenagers playing in games like this is never a bad thing. More please.

  2. Old Soccer Coach says:

    In his write-up on the Steel’s website, Tom Via points out that there were seven Academy players dressed.
    .
    Add Matt real and you have eight players of the Steel’s game day 18 who were teenagers still.
    .
    That the union itself started an 18-year-old — Trusty — and played a 17-year-old — Fontana — should also be noted.

  3. Old Soccer Coach says:

    As a History guy I am willing to assert a thesis based on two data, knowing all the reasons why the mathematicians and so-called “hard” scientists object.
    .
    It seems the team of Curt and Earnie like to have the entire first team together for, at least one game event during the regular season. In 2016 they took everybody on the road trip to Orlando and Colorado. In 2017 — yesterday home to Swansea.
    .
    That’s my thesis.
    .
    The question to ponder is why?

Leave a Reply

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

*