Bethlehem Steel FC saw its historic eight-match unbeaten streak snapped on a late goal, as the club fell on the road to the Richmond Kickers, 3-2.
Goals by Philadelphia Union defenders Aaron Jones and Ken Tribbett provided Steel FC’s offense, while fellow defender Auston Trusty tallied the first professional assist of his career. Jones’ goal was the second of 2017, both coming on free kicks against Richmond.
Facing an opponent hungry for a victory, Steel FC’s defense was tested in the opening half. 16-year-old goalkeeper Tomas Romero and the backline showcased their presence, preventing scoring chances with timely blocks and tackles. After a shot from Oliver clang off the woodwork in the 24th minute, Romero made two saves to keep the match scoreless.
Keeping with the defensive momentum, Steel FC opened the scoring on Jones’ strike from distance. After Anthony Fontana was fouled, the 23-year-old right back found his scoring form once again against the Kickers on a free kick. Much like his first professional goal, Jones fired a curling shot from distance that beat Richmond’s Matt Turner in the top corner.
Richmond came out strong in the second half, finding the back of the net twice in two minutes. While fans returned to their seats, the Kickers equalized on an Oliver shot from distance that beat Romero in the 46th minute. Seconds later, the hosts took the lead as Jalen Robinson connected on a cross to Luiz Fernando for the goal.
Steel FC battled back after the go-ahead goal and knotted it up in the 69th minute. Team captain James Chambers sent it wide for an open Trusty on the flank, who calmly settled the ball while the Richmond defense retreated. After a few touches, the 18-year-old fired a pass into the box that was knocked into the net by an unmarked Tribbett at the near post.
After both teams fought for a game-winning goal, Richmond snuck the final blow to end the streak as Samuel Asante collected a cleared ball from outside the 18-yard box and fired a shot into the side netting for the winner.
Steel FC look to start another unbeaten streak when it returns to Goodman Stadium next weekend against the Charlotte Independence. Kickoff from the campus of Lehigh University is set for 5 p.m.
Bethlehem Steel FC 2, Richmond Kickers 3
Shots: 16-9 (Richmond)
Shots On Goal: 5-4 (Richmond)
Corners: 6-3 (Richmond)
Saves: 2-2 (Even)
BST – 39’ Aaron Jones
RIC – 46’ Oliver (Luiz Fernando)
RIC – 47’ Luiz Fernando (Jalen Robinson)
BST – 69’ Ken Tribbett (Auston Trusty)
RIC – 87’ Samuel Asante
RIC – 58’ Oliver (Yellow Card)
BST – 76’ Richie Marquez (Yellow Card)
BETHLEHEM STEEL FC STARTING XI
Tomas Romero; Auston Trusty, Richie Marquez, Hugh Roberts, Aaron Jones (Matthew Mahoney 84’); James Chambers, Ken Tribbett, Anthony Fontana; Matt Real (Dawson McCartney 84’), Santi Moar (Seku Conneh 62’), Chris Nanco.
Substitutes not used: Eoin Gawronski, Charlie Reymann, Chris Wingate, Brenden Aaronson.
RICHMOND KICKERS STARTING XI
Matt Turner; Jalen Robinson, William Yomby (Conor Shanosky 70’), Mallan Roberts, Braeden Troyer; Oscar Umar, Samuel Asante, Sunny Jane; Raul Gonzalez, Luiz Fernando (Finnlay Wyatt 74’), Oliver (Franck Tayou 74’).
Substitutes not used: Marcel DeBellis, Matthew Bolduc, Anthony Grant, Patrick McCann.
Danielle Cheseky, Jeffrey Skinner (Assistant), Jonah Kind (Assistant), Ningwei Li (Fourth Official)
LVHN TEAM NOTES