USL - Bethlehem Steel FC

Match report: FC Cincinnati 2-2 Bethlehem Steel

Photo: Rob Simmons

The man seemingly forgotten by the Philadelphia Union would not be forgotten on this night by the 22,407 on hand at F.C. Cincinnati’s Nippert Stadium.

After Steel asserted their dominance in the first half on the back of a strike from Homegrown midfielder Derrick Jones, the tides quickly took a turn for the worse after Olivier Mbaizo was foolishly baited into a second yellow card early in the second half. Scoring two goals in rapid succession, Cincinnati’s orange and blue pounced on the hapless Steel and took a 2-1 lead in the 68th minute. Not more than 60 seconds later, Steel found their hero, this time in the form of their German striker. Rather than letting his head drop, Michee Ngalina drove right down the field, dashing through Cincinnati defensemen left, right, and center. The 17-year-old Ngalina played a perfectly weighted pass through two orange shirts to Herbers, who coolly slotted home his second goal of the year.

Bethlehem ‘Steel’ a point

After a 0-0 dogfight with reigning USL champions Louisville City, the boys in white did battle with yet another one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.

To no one’s surprise, manager Brendan Burke and B.S.F.C. sported a youthful, energetic squad. A squad that included six teenagers. That number matches the club’s all-time record.

What did come as a surprise is how Steel took the game to F.C. Cincinnati right from the opening whistle. In their game over the weekend, Bethlehem appeared lackadaisical in their attack, often times moving without urgency. In the opening 10 minutes of tonight’s match, it was all Steel, enjoying long spells of possession and relentless pressure from the front three and midfield.

Santi Moar, who looked to be a shadow of his usual self in the Louisville match, looked much more comfortable on the ball. Controlling the pace of play with his exceptional footwork and finesse.

While the match looked to be in the hands of Bethlehem, no real goal scoring threat was created and Cincinnati was allowed to reassert themselves into the match.

Cincinnati grew in confidence and used their infamous home field advantage as the match went on. The Lions racked up shots on John McCarthy’s net as forwards Emery Welshman and Jimmy McLaughlin terrorized the outside backs. If not for McCarthy’s first half heroics, the scoreline could have very well read 4-1 in favor of the home side.

In the second half it would appear that Bethlehem was regaining control of the match. That was until the 51st minute.

Six minutes into the half, defender Olivier Mbaizo jumped in hastily to make a challange on a Cincinnati midfielder, resulting in a yellow card. Mbaizo showed his youth and inexperience as he was easily baited into a second yellow card by several F.C. Cincinnati players. The Ghanaian’s outburst led to a sending off and ultimately killed any momentum the Steel had gained.

This looked to be the beginning of the end for Bethlethem.

After holding their own for 14 minutes, F.C. Cincinnati’s Nazmi Albadawi found the back of the net after a moment of chaos in the box. A failed clearance from Matt Real ping-ponged around in the box and landed at the feet of Cincy’s midfielder who took the chance well to equalize.

Two minutes later Cincinnati ran a set piece play straight from the training ground as Blake Smith’s pinpoint cross flew directly off the head of striker Russell Cicerone. 2-1 in just a matter of minutes and all hopes of a draw appeared to be dashed from Bethlehem’s perspective.

Big games require big players to step up and make their mark. In terms of pro-level experience, there was none bigger than Fabian Hebers on the pitch. Straight from the restart, Bethlehem raced up the pitch and Herbers stepped up for his side to equalize and secure a point.

Steel return to action on the road against Eastern Conference foe NY Red Bulls II on June 20th.

 

Three Points
  1. Score goals, get results                                                                                                                                                           Bethlehem Steel are undefeated when scoring two or more goals this season (5-0-1). Steel, historically, are not a team that has had the ability to blow teams away with their attack. This season, when the goals come in bunches, so do the points.
  2. Youth movement                                                                                                                                                                         On the road against the Eastern Conference’s finest, coach Brendan Burke fielded one of his youngest squads to date. The six teenagers featured in tonight’s away fixture yet this team showed the maturity to fight through adversity as they clawed back to earn a point.
  3. Critical road point                                                                                                                                                                   Tonight’s point means that Bethlehem stays firmly in the eighth and final playoff spot in the East.

 

Lineups

F.C. Cincinnati: Evan Newton; Kekel Keinan (C) (Forrest Lasso), Sem De Wit, Matt Bahner, Blake Smith; Kenney Walker, Nazmi Albadawi, Jimmy McLaughlin, Corben Bone; Emery Welshman (Danni Konig), Russell Cicerone.

Unused substitutes: Mark Village, Daniel Harber, Michael Lahoud, Will Seymore, Justin Hoye.

Bethlehem Steel: John McCarthy; Matt Real, Brandan Aubrey, Matt Mahoney, Olivier Mbaizo; James Chambers (C), Derrick Jones, Anthony Fontana (Drew Skundrich); Santi Moar, Michee Ngalina (Chris Nanco), Fabian Herbers(Benjamin Ofeimu).

Unused substitutes: Kris Shakes, Prosper Chiluyla, Mike Catalano, Jeremy Rafanello.

Disipline

Bethlehem- 51′ Olivier Mbaizo (yellow)

Bethlehem- 53′ Olivier Mbaizo (yellow/red)

Bethlehem- 86′ Fabian Herbers (yellow)

Cincinnati- 87′ Danni Konig (yellow)

Scoring

Bethlehem- 29′ Derrick Jones

Cincinnati- 66′ Nazmi Albadawi

Cincinnati- 68′ Russell Cicerone (Smith)

Bethlehem- 69′ Fabian Herbers (Ngalina)

One Comment

  1. Interesting that Herbers is back at ST instead of the wing. I think that’s probably the best spot for him and he would make a decent #3 ST for the Union.

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