On the road against the defending USL champions, Adam Najem’s performance lifted Bethlehem Steel FC to a 2-0 victory against arch-rival New York Red Bulls II at the MSU Soccer Park on the campus of Montclair State University.
Philadelphia Union midfielder Adam Najem put on a spectacular performance against his former organization, scoring the first professional goal of his career while adding an assist on the club’s other goal. Playing just miles from his hometown of Clifton, NJ, Najem notched the opening goal on a curling strike from just inside the 18-yard box. Najem rounded out his night with his second assist of the season on Santi Moar’s second-half goal.
The victory pushes Steel FC’s unbeaten streak to four matches (3-0-1) and is the club’s fourth shutout of the season.
While fans funneled into the stands, Steel FC struck for the opening goal in the fifth minute. Playing against his brother David, Najem converted on the club’s patience in the final third. Chris Nanco notched his first professional assist on the goal, finding the 22-year-old at the end of the Red Bulls box. After a quick touch, Najem delivered with a left-footed strike past the diving Rafael Diaz.
Red Bulls II searched for an equalizer in the first half but Steel FC goalkeeper Jake McGuire continued his stellar play. New York’s Vincent Bezecourt tested the 22-year-old keeper in the 18th minute, firing at the edge of the six-yard-box with McGuire making the reaction save. With the first half winding down, McGuire stood strong once more, denying a Florian Valot header with a leaping save.
Steel FC tacked on its second goal in the 57th minute, as Najem sparkled again. Collecting a pass from team captain James Chambers, the midfielder chipped the Red Bull II defense. Moar rant onto the volley, chipping it over the on-coming goalkeeper for his second goal of the season.
New York attempted to rally against the two-goal deficit but was denied by McGuire and the defense. After a fingertip save by a diving McGuire in the 68th minute, Hugh Roberts prevented a two-on-one breakaway to deny a shot on net in the 77th minute. With time winding down, right back Aaron Jones pressured Red Bulls II’s leading scorer Brendan Allen inside the six-yard-box that forced the forward to fire wide.
Bethlehem Steel FC looks to extend its unbeaten run but has little time to recover as it concludes its June schedule against in-state rival Harrisburg City Islanders on Tuesday, June 20. The third and final meeting of the regular season between the two sides is set to kick off from FNB Field at 7 p.m.
Bethlehem Steel FC 2, New York Red Bulls II 0
MSU Soccer Park
Shots: 16-8 (New York)
Shots On Goal: 5-2 (Bethlehem)
Corners: 12-3 (New York)
Saves:3-2 (New York)
BST – 5’ Adam Najem (Chris Nanco)
BST – 57’ Santi Moar (Adam Najem)
NY – 26’ Dan Metzger (Yellow Card)
BST – 30’ Seku Conneh (Yellow Card)
NY – 76’ Hassan Ndam (Yellow Card)
BST – 90+1’ Jake McGuire (Yellow Card)
BST – 90+2’ Yosef Samuel (Yellow Card)
BETHLEHEM STEEL FC STARTING XI
Jake McGuire; Charlie Reymann, Auston Trusty, Hugh Roberts, Aaron Jones; James Chambers, Ken Tribbett, Adam Najem; Santi Moar (Anthony Fontana 72’), Chris Nanco (Yosef Samuel 77’), Seku Conneh (Cory Burke 58’).
Substitutes not used: Tomas Romero, Matt Mahoney, Josh Heard, Amoy Brown.
NEW YORK RED BULLS II STARTING XI
Rafael Diaz; Justin Bilyeu (Ethan Kutler 58’), David Abidor (Jordan Scarlett 68’), Hassan Ndam, David Najem; Arun Basuljevic, Dan Metzger, Vincent Bezecourt, Florian Valot, Junior Flemmings (Brandon Allen 72’), Douglas Martinez
Substitutes not used: Evan Louro, Tim Schmoll, Andrew Tinari, Zeiko Lewis
Luis Arroyo, Tyler Wyrostek (Assistant), Joseph Paolini (Assistant), Dave Breckner (Fourth Official)
LVHN TEAM NOTES