USL - Bethlehem Steel FC / USL Match report

Match Report: Toronto FC II 2 – 4 Bethlehem Steel FC

Bethlehem Steel FC dominated Toronto FC II on the road in Ontario as rookie forward Santi Moar netted a brace within the first 22 minutes to secure a much needed 4-2 victory and an important three points Friday night. Bethlehem began their final push for the playoffs with an enormous success, outplaying Toronto FC II from the very first whistle. Toronto never stood a chance against Steel FC in this match.

Photo courtesy of Toronto FC II. Center defenders Auston Trusy and Josh Yaro defend their net as Adam Najem approaches amidst an impressive and much needed road win and 3 points. 4-2 was the final result.

Bethlehem have been deploying a high-pressure system accompanied by a dangerously quick counter attack in their back pockets. The lightning quick transition proved too much for Toronto FC II as two of Steel FC’s goals were created via the counter attack.

Scoring

Auston Trusty hit a solid through ball up the left hand side of Toronto FC II’s backline in the 19th minute. Toronto defender Julien Dunn unwisely tried to jump the pass but missed leaving Moar on a 1v1 with a slower defender in Mitchell Taintor. A quick step-over followed by a left footed strike beat Toronto keeper Mark Pais. Steel FC scored only three minutes later when a great combination play allowed Moar a chance to net his brace. He buried his chance to give Bethlehem a comfortable lead and a much-needed jumpstart on their opponents in the 22nd minute.

Only eight minutes into the second half and Bethlehem scored once again in the 53rd minute. Aaron Jones connected with midfielder Adam Najem who then found Derrick Jones for an easy third goal which served as the nail in the coffin for Toronto. Najem and fellow midfielder James Chambers utilized excellent vision all night completing countless creative passes allowing Steel FC to threaten Toronto all night long. As the game progressed, it seemed as if both Najem and Chambers found more and more confidence to complete longer connecting passes which created even more openings in Toronto’s shaky defense.

The 61st minute arrived and Toronto FC II scored their first goal – ruining a chance for Steel FC goalkeeper to secure a clean sheet. Shaan Hundal notched the goal as Bethlehem allowed a series of sloppy defensive play which created the chance for Toronto.

Bethlehem Steel FC history was made in the 81st minute when forward Seku Conneh tallied his 10th goal of the season, becoming the first Steel FC player to score double digit goals in a season. A poor clearance by Toronto off a Bethlehem corner left the ball bouncing off numerous heads before landing perfectly at Conneh’s feet for a goal.

Garbage time in the 88th minute gave Toronto FC II a second goal. Shaan Hundal proved useful once more and netted a brace for himself. Toronto’s late push was not enough however and Steel secured a 4-1 victory.

Playoff push

The win is a huge three points for a Steel FC team battling for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Steel FC hold a game in hand against the closest opponent in the standings, NY Red Bulls II, and this road win serves as a potentially monumental moment for the Steel FC as they begin their final charge for the post season.

With yet another road result, Steel FC continue to produce impressive results away from their home field at Lehigh University improving their road record to 6-6-3. Most teams in the USL heavily depend on home wins and Bethlehem have been tough to beat on the road. As Head Coach Brendan Burke mentioned post game last week against Tampa Bay, Steel FC players are tough and fearless. Steel FC’s next match takes place away Tuesday, October 10th at Rochester Rhinos.

Three Points:

  • Adam Najem continues to impress lately tallying two assists in the match, pushing his total for the year to eight – a new Bethlehem club record. He always seems to be finding open space in the midfield for his teammates whether he is evading defenders with his dribbling or connecting crucial one-two touch passes. Najem has fulfilled his role beautifully this season and will be a very important player moving forward on this playoff run.
  • Santi Moar scored his two goals within a three minute span scoring both before the 23rd minute of play. Moar consistently threatens opponents back lines with his lightning quick speed and ball skills.
  • Bethlehem Steel FC played what some could say was their best match of the season to date. Steel FC dominated from the opening whistle with their high pressure and quick transitioning offense. Playoffs loom large.

Lineups

Bethlehem Steel FC

Jake McGuire, Aaron Jones, Josh Yaro, Auston Trusty, Charlie Reyman, Derrick Jones, James Chambers (Hugh Roberts 66’), Adam Najem, Chris Nanco (Yosef Samuel), Santi Moar, Seku Conneh (Brendan Aaronson 87’)

Unused Substitutes: Tomas Romero, Matthew Mahoney, Josh Heard

Toronto FC II

Mark Pais, Lars Eckenrode, Mitchell Taintor, Julien Dunn, Anthony Osorio, Sergio Camargo (Ryan Telfer 85’), Matthew Srbely, Brian James (Nobel Okello 71’) Jordan McCrary, Shaan Hundal, Daniel Da Silva (Luca Uccello 65’)

Unused Substitutes: Angelo Cavalluzzo, Brandon Onkony, Aidan Daniels, Malik Johnson

Scoring Summary

Bethlehem:        19th minute       Santi Moar (from Auston Trusty)

Bethlehem:        22nd minute      Santi Moar (from Adam Najem and Seku Conneh)

Bethlehem:        53rd minute      Derrick Jones (from Adam Najem)

Toronto:             61st minute       Shaan Hundal

Bethlehem:        81st minute       Seku Conneh (from Santi Moar)

Toronto:             83rd minute      Shaan Hundal

Discipline Summary

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One Comment

  1. Old Soccer Coach says:

    Worth a mention that High Roberts at the #6 for Chambers was more successful than it had been earlier in the season.

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