For the second time in three weeks, Bethlehem Steel FC emerged victorious against FC Cincinnati, downing the visitors 1-0, thanks to a late goal from defender Hugh Roberts.
The winning-goal came in the 87th minute, as Roberts connected on a header off a broken corner kick play. Cincinnati did well to defend the initial set piece, but midfielder Adam Najem set up the crucial play with an accurate cross into the box that Roberts headed past a diving Mitch Hildebrandt. The goal was Roberts' first as a member of Bethlehem Steel FC, as was the assist for Najem.
“We absorbed a lot of pressure today but that is exactly what we talked about during the week so I’m happy with the fact that we got out of here with a clean sheet,” Bethlehem Steel FC head coach Brendan Burke said. “I think it was important to gut one out so to speak. We made sure that we didn’t concede late, that we didn’t concede early and that we didn’t give away anything cheaply. We were throwing ourselves in front of every opportunity they had at times and sometimes you have to do some
last ditch defending to scratch and claw.
Union goalkeeper in the 15th minute, with play beginning on a deep volley from midfield. Forward Andrew Wiedeman timed his run into the box and flicked the ball on PhiladelphiaDespite no score heading into the locker rooms, the first half was eventful with goalkeeper Jake McGuire making four saves to keep the match level. The visitors tested the net however the 22-year-old keeper made a diving save to his left and prevented any possible rebounds.
Defender Hugh Roberts, starting his second consecutive match at center back, showcased the talent that made him a USL Defender of the Year finalist last year, in the 33rd minute. Realizing Steel FC was pressed high for an attack, Roberts prevented a quick counter attack with a timely tackle inside the 18-yard-box to prevent a scoring chance.
While the defense stood out, the offense was just as impressive with 53 percent of the possession for the opening half. Captain James Chambers nearly had his return to Steel FC highlighted by a goal in the 35th minute, but the shot barely missed the crossbar and went over to end the scoring threat. Santi Moar nearly opened the scoring moments later off an Aaron Jones set piece that saw the Spaniard's header just miss the far post.
Cincinnati continued to pressure the Steel FC defense in the final half, totaling 13 shots but none on frame. The visitors had two shots ring off the woodwork however, Steel FC contained the Ohio club to preserve a second-consecutive shutout against FC Cincinnati.
“I honestly wouldn’t have marked these two matches as wins before the season so I’m really happy with that,” Burke said. “We’ve let some others slip that I thought we could’ve won but it’s starting to balance itself out. I’ve been saying all week that we’re a good team and are better than our record shows. This hopefully is the first step in re-establishing ourselves.”
Bethlehem Steel FC will now trek on the road for the next three matches that will last most of May. Steel FC’s first destination is Charleston, for a matchup against the Battery on Saturday, May 6. Kick off from MUSC Health Stadium is slated for 7 p.m.
Bethlehem Steel FC 1, FC Cincinnati 0
Shots: 21-9 (Cincinnati)
Shots On Goal: 4-2 (Cincinnati)
Corners: 7-2 (Cincinnati)
Saves: 4-1 (Bethlehem)
BST – 87’ Hugh Roberts (Adam Najem)
BST – 42’Seku Conneh (Yellow Card)
BST – 59’ Giliano Wijnaldum (Yellow Card)
BST – 80’ Santi Moar (Yellow Card)
CIN – 85’ Tyler Polak (Yellow Card)
CIN – 90’Andy Craven (Red Card)
BETHLEHEM STEEL FC STARTING XI
Jake McGuire; Giliano Wijnaldum, Auston Trusty, Hugh Roberts, Aaron Jones; James Chambers, Adam Najem, Cory Burke; Santi Moar, Marcus Epps (Chris Wingate 78’), Seku Conneh (Josh Heard, 90’)
Substitutes not used: Jahmali Waite, Matt Real, Matthew Mahoney, Justin McMaster, Yosef Samuel
FC CINCINNATI STARTING XI
Mitch Hildebrandt; Matt Bahner, Austin Berry, Harrison Delbridge, Tyler Polak; Daryl Fordyce (Aohden Quinn 67’), Corben Bone, Kenney Walker (Andy Craven 71’), Kadeem Dacres (Victor Mansaray 83’); Andrew Wiedeman, Jimmy McLaughlin.
Substitutes not used: Dallas Jaye, Pat McMahon, Paul Nicholson, Omar Cummings
Danielle Chesky, Brian Dunn (Assistant), Patrick Casey (Assistant), Matthew Vodzak (Fourth Official)