An early first half goal proved costly as Bethlehem Steel FC fell in its road trip opener, 1-0, to USL Eastern Conference leaders Charleston Battery.
Charleston jumped out to an early lead in the 17th minute on a goal from Ataulla Guerra. With Steel FC pressed up the field in search of the opening goal, the Battery capitalized with a quick counter attack started by Quinton Griffith. The defender sent it out wide to Heviel Cordoves, with the forward racing down the sideline. With the goal line approaching, Cordoves lifted the ball across the Steel FC net, which Guerra collected for the tally.
Steel FC nearly knotted the match in the 36th minute after an impressive play from Philadelphia Union rookie Marcus Epps. The 22-year-old forward connected with fellow Union player Aaron Jones for a quick one-two and into the Charleston penalty area. With defenders closing in, Epps dribbled around a pair before firing a curling shot that missed the far post.
After intermission, Steel FC came out of the locker room and controlled the final half as they searched for an equalizer. With nearly 60 percent of the possession in the final 45 minutes, Steel FC delivered all three of their shots on target but was unable to find the tying goal on the road.
Jamaican national team forward Cory Burke created one of the squad’s best chances, showcasing his pace to cut inside and build an attack before passing it wide to Epps. On the ensuing volley, Seku Conneh’s header was stopped by goalkeeper Odinsel Cooper.
In the waning moments of the match, Steel FC generated another chance due in large part to the rookie Santi Moar’s hustle. With Charleston scrambling to clear a Steel FC corner, Moar chased down the ball and swung it out wide for Burke. Using his strength, Burke headed into the box where Hugh Roberts’ touch was denied by Cooper.
Bethlehem Steel FC continues its three-game road trip next weekend, Saturday, May 13, when the club heads north of the border against Toronto FC II. Kick off from BMO Field is scheduled for 6 p.m.
Bethlehem Steel FC 0, Charleston Battery 1
MUSC Health Stadium
Shots: 15-11 (Charleston)
Shots On Goal: 3-3 (even)
Corners: 6-3 (Charleston)
Saves: 2-2 (even)
CHS – 17’ Ataulla Guerra (Heviel Cordoves, Quinton Griffith)
CHS – 22’Neavel Hackshaw (Yellow Card)
BST – 55’ Auston Trusty (Yellow Card)
BETHLEHEM STEEL FC STARTING XI
Jake McGuire; Auston Trusty, Mark McKenzie, Hugh Roberts, Aaron Jones; James Chambers, Chris Wingate (Santi Moar 80’), Adam Najem; Cory Burke, Marcus Epps (Chris Nanco 67’), Seku Conneh
Substitutes not used: Tomas Romero, Matt Real, Matt Mahoney, Josh Heard, Yosef Samuel
CHARLESTON BATTERY STARTING XI
Odisnel Cooper; Quinton Griffith, Taylor Mueller,Forrest Lasso, O’Brian Woodbine; Dante Marini, Neveal Hackshaw (Tah Brian Anunga 74’), Justin Portillo; Maikel Chang (Kotaro Higashi 54’), Ataulla Guerra, Heviel Cordoves (Skylar Thomas 87’).
Substitutes not used: Joe Kuzminsky, JeffreyOtoo, Ricky Garbanzo, Nico Rittmeyer
Kevin Broadley, Brian Marshall (Assistant), James Boswell (Assistant), Mark Eyrich (Fourth Official)