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Match Report: Bethlehem Steel FC 0-1 Rochester Rhinos

Photo Michael Reeves

Bethlehem Steel FC will have it all to play for in the final game of the season after failing to gain points on their trip to Rochester. Jochen Graf’s 38th minute strike was the only goal of the game, and the Rhinos’ only shot on target in a defensive battle.

Steel FC had a chance to secure a playoff spot with a victory, in front of an ESPN3 audience no less, but couldn’t break down an ever stingy Rhinos defense.

Things looked pretty good early on, as the visitors got out on the front foot early. In the 9th minute, Santi Moar opened up some space at the top of the box, but saw his shot sail just over the crossbar. Corey Burke had a half chance a few minutes later, but found himself alone in the box with no options other than to just try to get his shot on frame.

Rochester soaked up the early pressure, then hit back.

Kenardo Forbes found Graf inside the box, whose downward header beat an oncoming Jake McGuire. Rochester had arguably the best chance of the game, and took it gaining a 1-0 advantage,

Steel FC started the second half much like the first, doing anything they could to break down the Rochester defense.

Early on Corey Burke had seemingly beat the Rochester backline and earned a penalty, but the linesman judged him to be offside. Replays show Burke was slightly behind the defense when the pass was played.

Steel had one more real opportunity in the 82nd minute, when Burke couldn’t get the final touch on a perfectly weighted cross into the box. Chris Nanco had a chance on the rebound, but couldn’t get a shot off.

The loss creates a dramatic final game scenario for Steel FC. They could finish 6th-8th, or miss the playoffs completely depending on results elsewhere. Their final match comes Sunday, October 15th against St. Louis FC. SLFC currently sits in 12th place in the East, and have nothing left to play for.

Three Points 

Frustration In Attack – Rochester were already known around the league as a defensive-minded team, and BSFC found that out the hard way in this one. They only registered one shot on target, and failed to create many quality chances in the game.

Another Teams Treasure – With the Union officially eliminated from playoff contention, Joshua Yaro and Marcus Epps were both able to step down and start in an important USL game. They’ll surely appear on Sunday, and will get playoff experience if Steel FC qualify.

All To Play For – As previously stated, the loss sets up a “winner take all” scenario on Sunday. A win and they’re in. A draw or loss plus other results going their way would also put BSFC in the playoffs.

Lineups

Bethlehem Steel FC 

Jake McGuire; Charlie Reymann, Auston Trusty, Josh Yaro, Aaron Jones; James Chambers, Michael Pellegrino, Adam Najem; Santi Moar (Chris Nanco 79’), Marcus Epps (Seku Conneh 65’), Cory Burke.

Unused subs: Tomas Romero, Matthew Mahoney, Hugh Roberts, Josh Heard, Brenden Aaronson.

Rochester Rhinos 

Tomas Gomez; Raymond Lee (Sergio Campbell 77’), Ryan Felix, Joseph Farrell, Todd Pratzner, Jordan Dover; Kenardo Forbes, Wal Fall; Ryan James, Julian Buscher (Sofiane Tergou 67’), Jochen Graf.

Unused subs: Dan Lynd, Darius Madison, Stefan Defregger, Christiano Francois, Brandon Beresford.

Scoring Summary

ROC – 38’ Jochen Graf (Kenardo Forbes)

Discipline Summary 

BST – 86’ Seku Conneh (Yellow Card)

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