Bethlehem Steel FC utilized Tuesday's training session as an opportunity to return to the pitch in a match, as the squad scrimmaged the Philadelphia Union Academy at Talen Energy. Playing in front of members of the Academy, the two squads used the scrimmage in different ways.
For Steel FC, the match marked the beginning of a crucial September. After staying above the playoff line for much of the summer, the playoff picture has tightened up over the past few weeks and Steel FC finds itself battling seven other teams for the final four spots in the playoff table. Only eight points separate fifth place from 12th place.
As for the U19s, Tuesday's match was a chance for coach Jeff Cook to give numerous players the opportunity to showcase their talents against professionals and get back into form ahead of the Academy season starting.
The match itself saw Steel FC down the U19s, 2-1. The Academy squad got on the board first, as a through ball on flank provided Issa Rayyan an opportunity to show off his speed. The 17-year-old, who has spent with Steel FC earlier this year, fired a low shot past the keeper for the opening tally.
Minutes later, Steel FC responded on a goal from fellow Academy product Brenden Aaronson. Pressing hard for a goal, Steel FC marched up the field with possession and fired a shot on goal that was saved by Eion Gawronski. Aaronson raced onto the rebound and fired it into the back of the net for the equalizer.
Both teams exchanged chances for the rest of the half and went into the half tied, 1-1. Santi Moar came on in the second half for Chris Nanco and continued his strong run of play with the winning goal. Moar collected a pass at midfield and dribbled down the right side, beating multiple defenders before firing a shot into the net.