Bethlehem Steel FC saw its five-match unbeaten streak at Goodman Stadium come to an end Saturday afternoon, falling to Charlotte Independence, 4-0.
The visitors jumped out to an early lead against Steel FC. In the seventh minute, while some fans were still making their way to their seats, a quick combination inside the 18-yard box between Enzo Martinez and Lewis Hilton led to the opening goal for Charlotte, the second place team in the USL-Eastern Conference. With defenders surrounding him, Martinez delivered a pass to Hilton that he deftly fired into the back of the net to make it 1-0, Charlotte, Steel FC nearly found an equalizer a minute later, as Jamaican international Cory Burke chased down a pass. Racing into the box, the 25-year-old took two dribbles before firing a shot that was blocked by defender Bilal Duckett.
Charlotte capitalized on their staunch defensive play, doubling its lead in the 20th minute on a goal by Jorge Herrera. After a pass out wide, right back Joel Johnson delivered a timely pass into the box that Herrera snuck inside the right post.
Despite the deficit, Steel FC continued to fight back as Burke showcased his playmaking skills to produce scoring opportunities. In the 29th minute, Burke intercepted a pass in the offensive third, beginning a sequence that saw Anthony Fontana fire a curling shot that barely missed the crossbar. Just before the halftime whistle, Ken Tribbett rose up for a headed chance but was denied by diving goalkeeper, Cody Mizell.
Down 2-0, Steel FC pushed higher up the field as it searched for goals. The decision produced high scoring counter attacks for the Independence, as the visitors struck twice more. Much like the opening goal, the duo of Enzo Martinez and Hilton teamed up and that resulted in Hilton notching a brace.
After defender Aaron Jones was sent off with a red card in the 73rd minute, Charlotte capitalized with a final tally in the 80th minute as substitute Jun Marques Davidson passed it off to Alex Martinez for the finish.
After a brief stay at home, Steel FC returns to action next weekend with its first trip to USL-newcomer Ottawa Fury FC on Saturday, August 5th. Kickoff from the TD Place Stadium is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Bethlehem Steel FC 0, Charlotte Independence 4
Shots: 16-15 (Charlotte)
Shots On Goal: 8-4 (Charlotte)
Corners: 5-4 (Charlotte)
Saves: 4-4 (Even)
CLT – 7’ Lewis Hilton (Enzo Martinez)
CLT – 19’ Jorge Herrera (Joel Johnson)
CLT – 48’ Lewis Hilton (Enzo Martinez)
CLT – 80’ Alex Martinez (Jun Marques Davidson)
CLT – 32’ Joel Johnson (Yellow Card)
CLT – 45’ Alex Martinez (Yellow Card)
BST – 49’ James Chambers (Yellow Card)
BST – 51’ Anthony Fontana (Yellow Card)
BST – 65’ Chris Nanco (Yellow Card)
CLT – 72’ Cody Mizell (Yellow Card)
BST – 73’ Aaron Jones (Red Card)
CLT – 90’+1 Bilal Duckett (Yellow Card)
BETHLEHEM STEEL FC STARTING XITomas Romero; Auston Trusty, Richie Marquez, Ken Tribbett, Aaron Jones; James Chambers, Derrick Jones, Adam Najem; Cory Burke, Anthony Fontana (Chris Nanco 59’), Seku Conneh (Santi Moar 63’).
Substitutes not used: Matthew Freese, Hugh Roberts, Matt Real, Matthew Mahoney, Chris Wingate.
CHARLOTTE INDEPENDENCE STARTING XI
Cody Mizell; Bilal Duckett, Austin Yearwood, Joel Johnson, Henry Kalungi; Callum Ross, David Estrada (David Spies 83’), Lewis Hilton, Alex Martinez (Jaime Siaj 83’); Jorge Herrera (Jun Marques Davidson 46’), Enzo Martinez.
Substitutes not used: Kainoa Likewise, Casey Townsend, Luke Waechter, Jacob Bender.
Henrik Karlsson, Gjovalin Bori (Assistant), Joe Zawistowski (Assistant), Andrew Eitel (Fourth Official)
LVHN TEAM NOTES