Starting off its busy May slate, Bethlehem Steel FC battled hard but fell on the road to the Charleston Battery, 2-1, at MUSC Health Stadium.
Facing off against a club that hadn’t conceded a goal in its last three matches, Steel FC youthful energy was on display as they outshot their hosts by an 11-7 margin. In a match that saw the first USL starts of Michee Ngalina and Aidan Apodaca as well as the debut of Tonny Temple, it was Philadelphia Union midfielder Derrick Jones coming up with the squad’s lone goal of the evening. Jones’ converted from the penalty spot in the second half to tally his second goal of 2018.
Just like in the first meeting between the two sides in April, the Battery made the most of their limited scoring opportunities as they scored on both of their shots on target. In the first half, Charleston took advantage of a counter-attack opportunity after a long spell of possession by Steel FC. Led by Atlanta United loanee Gordon Wild, the 22-year-old laid a soft pass Atualla Guerra at the far post that was finished off in the 44th minute.
The second half started off with Steel FC hungry for an equalizer as Adam Najem led Michee Ngalina into space but the rookie winger’s shot from distance went high. While Steel FC pushed for the tying goal, Charleston doubled its advantage early in the 53rd minute with Wild getting a goal of his own off a cross from Neveal Hackshaw.
Steel FC wasn’t deterred by the deficit and continued to patiently break down Charleston. The club was rewarded in the 64th minute as Drew Skundrich fired a chance that drew a handball inside the Battery’s box. Jones’ stepped up to the spot and beat the keeper with a right-footed shot delivered down the middle.
In the waning minutes of the contest, Steel FC generated chances for the equalizer in Apodaca and Chris Nanco. Taking a short corner, the team played it back and maintained possession in hopes of getting a scoring opportunity. It came after a six-player sequence as Santi Moar sprung Nanco on the right side of the box. With the defense closing it, the Brampton, Ontario’s shot went wide of the near post. Apodaca’s chance came in the stoppage time, as he chased down a volley at the end line but couldn’t connect with a teammate inside the box.
Steel FC will have little time to reflect on the result as the club continues its three-game in eight-day stretch back at home against rival New York Red Bulls II on Wednesday, May 16. Kick off from Goodman Stadium on the campus of Lehigh University is scheduled for 5 p.m.
Bethlehem Steel FC 1, Charleston Battery 2
MUSC Health Stadium
Shots: 14-9 (Bethlehem)
Shots On Goal: 7-2 (Bethlehem)
Corners: 6-1 (Bethlehem)
Saves: 6-0 (Charleston)
CHS – 44’ Atualla Guerra (Gordon Wild)
CHS – 53’ Gordon Wild (Neveal Hackshaw)
BST – 66’ Derrick Jones (PK)
BST – 9’ Olivier Mbaizo (Yellow Card)
CHS – 20’ Vincenzo Candela (Yellow Card)
CHS – 31’ Nico Rittmeyer (Yellow Card)
BETHLEHEM STEEL FC STARTING XI
Jake McGuire; Prosper Chiluya, Brandon Aubrey, Matthew Mahoney, Olivier; Derrick Jones, Drew Skundrich; Michee Ngalina (Santi Moar 60’), Adam Najem (Chris Nanco 65’), Fabian Herbers (Tonny Temple 71’); Aidan Apodaca.
Substitutes not used: Tomas Romero, AJ Paterson, Mike Catalano, Brandon Allen.
CHARLESTON BATTERY STARTING XI
Joe Kuzminsky; Neveal Hackshaw, Taylor Mueller, Skylar Thomas; Jarad van Schaik, Vincenzo Candela, Tah Anunga, Jay Bolt (Nico Rittmeyer 27’); Kotaro Higashi, Ataulla Guerra (Ian Svantesson 75’), Gordon Wild.
Substitutes not used: Odisnel Cooper, Victor Mansaray, Patrick Okonkwo, Angelo Kelly-Rosales, Ran Arambula.
Officials: Daniel Gutierrez, Kyle Longville (Assistant), Benjamin Watson (Assistant), Sam Hosig (Fourth Official).
LVHN TEAM NOTES