USL - Bethlehem Steel FC / USL Match report

Match report: Bethlehem Steel FC 1 – 1 Orlando City B

Photos courtesy USL & Bethlehem Steel

Bethlehem Steel FC found a late equalizer in the 86th minute to tie Orlando City B 1-1 in the heat and humidity of central Florida summer.

Marcus Epps beautifully curled a shot from the left corner of the box into the far upper 90 with his right foot. He recovered a point  for the Steel giving Orlando keeper Jake Fenlason no chance for a save. Striker Cory Burke fed Epps for the assist.

11 minutes earlier, Pierre DaSilva had driven a near-post upper-90 strike off the woodwork to take the lead, Steel Keeper Jake McGuire also having no chance to make a save. DaSilva ran onto a nice diagonal layback from his striker Albert Dikwa.

Steel head coach Brendan Burke faced a second away game in summer heat and humidity  similar to the earlier one in Richmond and drew lessons from the loss in Virginia. He did not ask his team to high press for 90 minutes, instead picking up only at midfield to conserve energy.  The ball, once lost, was not recovered immediately, so play flowed back and forth between the boxes.

It was odd to see Cory Burke hunting defenders in the center circle rather than at the top of the “D.” But the tactic worked because when they needed to chase the game, the Steel had the reserves to succeed.

Both sides played for possession rather than high speed counters, and both sides’ defenses were stoutly, successfully determined in their respective final thirds. Total shots between both sides were 15, the Steel leading 8-7. Only 3 were on goal, the Steel leading 2-1.

Lest readers conclude that Jake McGuire could take naps, Orlando’s lion cubs put many crosses into the six-yard box that would have found on-rushing attackers for tap-ins had McGuire not preempted them. He was also called upon to cover challenges to both upper-90s that were on frame but not inside it, and hence are not counted as “on goal.”

Eight Union loanees started for the Steel including Maurice Edu who captained the side and played 78 minutes with 50 touches and 39 of 42 passes completed. While he suffered one giveaway early, he repeatedly and deftly found Cory Burke checking back to the ball in the central channel where the Jamaican showcased his improved hold-up play. Edu and Derrick Jones seemed a bit unfamiliar with each other at the beginning, even though they have appeared together there twice before, but as time passed coordination improved.

With the result, the Steel moved ahead of FC Cincinnati to seventh, on the basis of total wins, since both sides now have 34 points. Gaining the away point keeps them on track in the playoff hunt.

Three points

Our Spaniard: Santi Moar impacted this game against a comparable USL side similarly to the effects he had last February against lesser teams in preseason scrimmages. He has advanced his game from the NCAA division II championship level to USL high quality.

Our Irishman: Coach Burke has intimated that James Chambers hates to sit on the bench. This game was the second time this season he has come onto the pitch as a late substitution. This is also the second time that shortly thereafter the Steel have scored a result-gaining goal. He did not score it himself this time. But in Chris Sherman’s newest statistical device that might be labeled “Plus/Minus Player Analysis,” the Steel captain is “plus 2” as a sub.

Our Jamaican: Cory Burke now has two assists in two games playing as a striker. In 2016, Burke consistently over-hit potential assists. This season’s change is a useful improvement.

Lineups

Bethlehem: Jake McGuire*; Aaron Jones*, Josh Yaro*, Auston Trusty*, Matt Real; Maurice Edu* (C) (James Chambers 79’), Derrick Jones*; Marcus Epps* (Yosef Samuel 89’), Adam Najem* (Chris Nanco 79’), Santi Moar; Cory Burke. Unused substitutes: Tomas Romero**; Matt Mahoney, Hugh Roberts, Anthony Fontana**. *Union loanee, **Academy player.

Orlando: Jake Fenlason; Kevin Alston (Austin Martz 46’), Connor Donovan, Zach Carroll, Zach Ellis-Hayden; Lewis Neal (C), Jordan Schweitzer, Fernando Timbo (Paul Clowes ’79), Pierre DaSilva; Albert Dikwa, Ben Polk (Danny Deakin 46’). Unused substitutes: Aaron Smith; Scott Thomsen, Youmeni Jules, Riley Kraft.

Scoring Summary

Orlando:           75th minute       Pierre DaSilva (Albert Dikwa)
Bethlehem:      86th minute       Marcus Epps (Cory Burke)

Disciplinary Summary

Orlando:           30th minute       Kevin Alston yellow card (professional foul)
Orlando:           45+1 minute       Pierre DaSilva yellow card (foul)
Bethlehem:       90+1 minute       James Chambers yellow card (professional foul)

Referee: Daniel Gutierrez

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