Bethlehem Steel FC concluded its inaugural season with a 2-0 loss against Orlando City B Sunday afternoon at Goodman Stadium.
“We pushed the game and it was 13-2 in shots at halftime, you can’t pepper a team any better than that and they were quality chances too,” Steel FC head coach Brendan Burke said. “One of them smashed off the bar and a lot rolled through their six-yard box. We didn’t capitalize on those today and that was the story of year.”
Steel FC opened the match strong, taking the first shot of the contest in the sixth minute. After Cory Burke gained possession near the visitor’s penalty box, he laid it off for Derrick Jones but the shot curled wide of the far post.
Despite the impressive play in the opening minutes, Orlando City B struck first on a goal from Johnny Mendoza. Forward Michael Cox found space down the flank before delivering a low cross that was finished by Mendoza at the far post.
Union Academy forward Justin McMaster produced chances for the equalizer moments after the opening score. The first opportunity came in the 18th minute when he found space but McMaster's attempt was saved by goalkeeper Mark Ridgers. Later in the half, McMaster showed his speed with space behind the back line before seeing his shot go wide.
Steel FC’s best scoring chance of the first half came in the 35th minute on a quick build up between Erik Ayuk and Leo Fernandes. Playing back to curb an Orlando City chance, Ayuk turned up field before connecting with Fernandes. With time and space on the edge of the penalty box, Fernandes fired a hard shot that rang off the crossbar and back into play.
The final half of Steel FC’s opening season saw two of the club’s youngest players team up for a scoring chance. Looking to tie the match, McMaster played a long ball to catch McKenzie in stride as he ran into the Orlando City B penalty area. Despite the impressive build up, McKenzie saw his shot blocked before it reached the opposing net.
Just as the hosts looked close to tying the match, Orlando City B added an insurance goal in the 58th minute. After gaining a bit of possession with a pair of midfield passes, Michael Lewis chested down a ball then fired a hard shot past Steel FC goalkeeper Matthew Perrella and into the top right corner.
Steel FC continued its push for goals as substitutes Amoy Brown and Cole Missimo tried to make their impression on the match. With 15 minutes remaining, Missimo gained the ball inside Orlando City B’s 18-yard-box but the Union midfielder’s shot was saved by a diving Ridgers. Moments later, Brown found himself on the receiving end of a hard cross from McMaster but unable to finish as Brown’s shot went over the crossbar.
Bethlehem Steel FC 0, Orlando City B 2
Shots: 19-4 (Bethlehem)
Shots On Goal: 5-2 (Bethlehem)
Corners: 9-3 (Bethlehem)
Saves: 0-5 (Orlando City B)
OCB – 9’ Johnny Mendoza (Michael Cox)
OCB – 58’ Lewis Neal
OCB – 32’ – Tyler Turner (Yellow Card)
OCB – 52’ – Kyle McFadden (Yellow Card)
OCB – 60’ – Pedro Ribeiro (Yellow Card)
OCB – 66’ – Andrew Ribeiro (Yellow Card)
BST – 83’ – Anthony Fontana (Yellow Card)
OCB – 89’ – Pierre Da Silva (Yellow Card)
BST – 89’ – James Chambers (Yellow Card)
BETHLEHEM STEEL FC STARTING XI
Matt Perrella; Mark McKenzie, Nick Bibbs, Bolu Akinyode, Taylor Washington; James Chambers©, Derrick Jones, Leo Fernandes (Yosef Samuel 62’); Eric Ayuk (Anthony Fontana 80’), Justin McMaster (Cole Missimo 73’), Cory Burke (Amoy Brown 67’)
Substitutes not used: Tomas Romero, Matt Real, Josh Heard
ORLANDO CITY B STARTING XI
Mark Ridgers; Tyler Turner, Tommy Redding, Kyle McFadden, Zach Hayden; Lewis Neal, Pedro Ribeiro (Andrew Ribeiro 62’), Johnny Mendoza (Marius Obekop 46’), Harrison Heath (Devron Garcia 73’), Pierre Da Silva; Michael Cox (Hadji Barry 70’)
Substitutes not used: Jake Fenlason, Conor Donovan, Richie Laryea
Rafal Siudjik, Dustin Killick (Assistant), Terrance Mull (Assistant), Wojciech Gluszak (Fourth)