Bethlehem Steel FC pushed the USL leading New York Red Bulls II tough but fell 2-0 Sunday afternoon at Goodman Stadium.
Playing at home in sunny but windy conditions, the two teams battled to establish their style of play. In a physical opening half, Steel FC saw its defense rise up and stall the league’s top offense. Erik Ayuk opened the offense for the home team with a long shot that skirted wide of the New York Red Bulls II net.
New York Red Bulls II opened the scoring in the 32nd minute when a foul inside the box off a free kick drew a penalty kick. Brandon Allen stepped up and converted past goalkeeper Matt Perrella.
After a defensive minded first 45 minutes, Steel FC came out aggressive in the opening minutes of the final half. Justin McMaster earned the first chance for the team, launching a quick attack that ended with a foul inside the Red Bulls II box. Off a Ryan Richter corner kick in the 51st minute, Ayuk came away with the best scoring chance but was unlucky as a defender headed the ball clear in front of goal.
Playing in his first home match, goalkeeper Matt Perrella came up huge to keep the match close. After making two saves in his first appearance last week against Louisville City, Perrella notched three saves including a 65th minute stop on Red Bulls II’s Florian Valot that kept the score at 1-0.
Although Steel FC fought to equalize the match, New York Red Bulls II added an insurance goal from Derrick Etienne in stoppage time.
The match featured the return of Philadelphia Union midfielder Maurice Edu, playing in his first action of the 2016 season. In his 32 minutes of play, Edu established his presence in the middle of the field and drew a foul that set up a free kick opportunity for Steel FC.
“It was to test out my injury and see how many minutes I could get under my belt,” Edu said. “From that standpoint I came out well and obviously would result the game wasn’t ideal as I would have wanted to get a win but there was a lot of positive points coming out of this.”
Steel FC returns to action on Saturday, Sept. 10 when they travel to face the Charleston Battery. The match serves as the team’s final road match of the regular season. Kickoff from MUSC Health Stadium is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Bethlehem Steel FC 0, New York Red Bulls II 2
Shots: 10-5 (New York)
Shots On Goal: 5-2 (New York)
Corners: 5-2 (New York)
Saves: 2-3 (Bethlehem)
NYRBII – 32’ Brendan Allen (PK)
NYRBII – 90’ Derrick Etienne
BST – 30’ – Maurice Edu (Yellow Card)
BST – 45’ – Joshua Heard (Yellow Card)
NY – 58’ – Brandon Allen (Yellow Card)
NT – 60’ – Florian Valot (Yellow Card)
BETHLEHEM STEEL FC STARTING XI
Matthew Perrella; Ryan Richter, Nick Bibbs, Bolu Akinyode, Taylor Washington; Derrick Jones, Maurice Edu © (Anthony Fontana 32’), James Chambers; Gabe Gissie (Justin McMaster 46’), Joshua Heard (Cole Missimo 71), Eric Ayuk
Substitutes not used: Josue Monge, Matt Real, Jamie Luchini, Amoy Brown
NEW YORK RED BULLS II STARTING XI
Rafel Diaz; Kevin O’Toole (Konrad Plewa 68’), Aaron Long, Zach Carroll, David Nasem; Dan Metzger, Tyler Adams, Vincent Bezecourt (Devon Williams 75’); Derrick Etienne, Brandon Allen (Ben Mines 90’), Florian Valot (Stefano Bonmo 71’)
Substitutes not used: Sam Ilan, Tim Schmoll, Zoumana Simpara
Henrik Karlsson, Mark Treilman (Assistant), Patrick Casey (Assistant), Kevin Lock (Fourth)