Bethlehem Steel FC continued its strong run of form with a strong defensive game plan to shutout the defending USL Cup Champion Louisville City FC at Goodman Stadium on the campus of Lehigh University.
Fielding six teenagers against the champions, Steel FC limited the Eastern Conference power to no shots on target in the opening half and just two overall. Philadelphia Union goalkeeper John McCarthy picked up his second clean sheet of the year in the scoreless affair.
"That’s the top team in our league, you ask any coach in the league, they are the most difficult team to play against because they don’t really make mistakes,” Bethlehem Steel FC head coach Brendan Burke said following the match. “They are intelligent and experienced, they have enough athleticism to break you down and when [Brian] Ownby comes on, that goes through the roof. Just really proud of my guys to give away only two shots on goal against a team of that caliber, especially with so many young faces out there.”
In a physical affair that saw Steel FC’s game plan come to fruition, forward Chris Nanco provided the top scoring chances of the evening. 18-year-old Michee Ngalina found space on the flank and whipped in a cross toward the Canadian forward. Unmarked in the center of the box, Nanco flicked a header that missed the far post. Nanco also had the host’s best opportunity of the first half, beating the back line in the seventh minute but ultimately had his chance saved by LouCity’s Greg Ranjitsingh.
With time winding down, both teams pushed for a break-through goal but ultimately was unable to break the stalemate. McCarthy was called up to deny Devon Williams in the 72nd minute while defender Matt Mahoney timed a tackle in the box to deny second-half substitute, Brian Ownby, late. On the other end, Philadelphia Union Academy winger Tonny Temple nearly broke the deadline as his floated header beat the keeper but drifted wide.
The result is the third draw in the all-time series between the two teams and continues Steel FC’s strong form that has resulted in five results in their last seven matches.
Steel FC will have no time to relax as it travels to Eastern Conference leaders FC Cincinnati on Wednesday, June 13. The USL Game of the Week will be broadcast on ESPN3 with kick off from Nippert Stadium scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Bethlehem Steel FC 0, Louisville City FC 0
Shots: 12-11 (Bethlehem)
Shots On Goal: 3-2 (Bethlehem)
Corners: 4-2 (Bethlehem)
Saves: 3-2 (Louisville)
BST – 45+5’ Anthony Fontana (Yellow Card)
LOU –48’ Paco Craig (Yellow Card)
BST – 58’ James Chambers (Yellow Card)
LOU –90’ Pat McMahon (Yellow Card)
BETHLEHEM STEEL FC STARTING XI
John McCarthy; Matt Real, Brandon Aubrey, Josh Yaro (Ben Ofeimu 19’), Matt Mahoney; James Chambers, Drew Skundrich; Santi Moar, Anthony Fontana, Michee Ngalina (Tonny Temple 77’); Chris Nanco (Jeremy Rafanello 64’).
Substitutes not used: Tomas Romero, AJ Paterson, Prosper Chiluya, Mike Catalano.
LOUISVILLE CITY FC STARTING XI
Greg Ranjitsingh; Kyle Smith, Paco Craig (Alexis Souahy 59’), Sean Totsch, Pat McMahon; Paolo DelPiccolo, Oscar Jimenez, Devon Williams, Niall McCabe (Brian Ownby 63’); Cameron Lancaster (Magnus Rasmussen 20’), Ilija Ilic.
Substitutes not used: Tim Dobrowolski, George Davis IV, Shaun Francis, Chris Hubbard.
Officials: Lorant Varga, Zeno Cho (Assistant), Joshua Encarnacion (Assistant), Jay Hutchinson (Fourth Official).
LVHN TEAM NOTES