Bethlehem Steel FC overcame a first-half deficit to draw the Charleston Battery, 1-1, at Goodman Stadium on the campus of Lehigh University.
Playing in cool and windy conditions in the Lehigh Valley, Steel FC out possessed Charleston by a 66-34 margin but were only able to net a first-half stoppage time goal from Philadelphia Union forward Cory Burke. The strike was Burke’s first goal of 2018 and pushes his all-time scoring club record to 14 goals.
“Disappointed that we didn’t have a little more endeavor in the final third,” Bethlehem Steel FC head coach Brendan Burke said. “You put 556 passes together but to where and what end so I’m frustrated because [Charleston] didn’t really have one clean look on our goal besides the mistake that we made that led to the corner. Disappointed because that is two points dropped because we were the far better team today.”
Nine members of the Philadelphia Union, Steel FC’s MLS-affiliate, notched starts against the Battery, setting a new club record. The chemistry paid off as the club came out on its front foot earning the first scoring chance in the 11th minute as Mark McKenzie found Marcus Epps. With space outside the Battery’s box, Epps fired a curling shot that missed the far post. Steel FC kept up the pressure and nearly struck first as Burke took a back-heeled shot that missed inches from the post.
Charleston made the most of its limited opportunities, with both shots on goal coming in back-to-back minutes. After goalkeeper John McCarthy made a stretching save to push a shot over the crossbar, the ensuing corner proved costly. With a strong service from defender Jarad van Schaik, fellow defender Skylar Thomas found space at the back post and headed it home.
Steel FC wasted little time fighting back from the deficit, scoring on its own set piece. With seconds remaining in first-half stoppage time, Anthony Fontana whipped in a corner kick that forced a goal line save by Odisnel Cooper. Burke fought for the rebound and punched it home just before the referee blew his whistle for the half.
Steel FC concludes its three-game home stand next weekend with a battle against FC Cincinnati on Sunday, April 15. Kick off from Goodman Stadium is scheduled for 3 p.m.
Bethlehem Steel FC 1, Charleston Battery 1
Shots: 11-6 (Bethlehem)
Shots On Goal: 3-2 (Bethlehem)
Corners: 7-5 (Bethlehem)
Saves: 2-1 (Charleston)
CHS – 42’ Skylar Thomas (Jarad van Schaik)
BST – 45+4’ Cory Burke
CHS – 55’ Jarad van Schaik (Yellow Card)
CHS – 86’ Neveal Hackshaw (Yellow Card)
BST – 89’ Eric Ayuk (Yellow Card)
BETHLEHEM STEEL FC STARTING XI
John McCarthy; Prosper Chiluya, Mark McKenzie, Matthew Mahoney, Eric Ayuk; Derrick Jones, Adam Najem; Marcus Epps (Chris Nanco 83’), Anthony Fontana, Fabian Herbers (Santi Moar 67’); Cory Burke (Brandon Allen 75').
Substitutes not used: Kris Shakes, Brenden Aaronson, Mike Catalano, Aidan Apodaca.
CHARLESTON BATTERY STARTING XI
Odisnel Cooper; Jay Bolt, Taylor Mueller, Skylar Thomas, Jarad Van Schaik; Victor Mansaray (Gordon Wild 70’), Tah Anunga, Neveal Hackshaw, Kotaro Higashi; Ataulla Guerra, Ian Svantesson (Patrick Okonkwo 75’).
Substitutes not used: Joe Kuzminsky, Angelo Kelly, Ryan Arambula, Vincenzo Candela.
Officials: Lorant Varga, Ian McKay (Assistant), Amilcar Sicaju (Assistant), Jay Hutchinson (Fourth Official).
LVHN TEAM NOTES