Trailing by two goals in the waning moments of the match, Bethlehem Steel FC showed its ‘Never Say Die’ attitude once again as the club scored twice for a 2-2 draw against rival New York Red Bulls II.
New York jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals from their captain, Stefano Bonomo. After converting from the penalty spot in the first half, it seemed he had lifted Red Bulls II to its first road win of 2018 with a counter-attack strike in the 84th minute.
After attempting just one shot in the first half, Steel FC came out a different squad in the final 45 minutes taking 11 shots and earning 8 corners. While Red Bulls II doubled its lead, Steel FC substitute Chris Nanco rallied the squad with a pair of big assists to earn an important point. Nanco trimmed the lead to one with a perfect service into the box that connected with an unmarked Matt Mahoney for the defender’s first professional goal.
Steel FC wasn’t done as Nanco once against scrapped together a final chance in added time. With seconds remaining, the Canadian chased down a poor clearance near the corner flag. Taking a quick touch to his right, he fired across the six-yard box that went through three defenders and to a wide-open run from James Chambers who tapped it in.
“What we talked about at halftime was that it was the worst performance we’ve put on in three years in this building and I’m extremely proud of the response in the second half,” Bethlehem Steel FC head coach Brendan Burke said. “We could have scored multiple goals that we didn’t get but we still got the two that mattered and got ourselves back into the game. Unfortunately, we got hit on the counter but we were pushing hard and sometimes that happens. Ultimately, we walk away understanding that if we start games the way we started and played the second half, we can be excellent in this league and not just relevant or just around the playoff line but that we can drive forward and hopefully that’s what we walk away with today.”
With the draw, Bethlehem Steel FC extends its unbeaten streak to four-consecutive matches including three against opponents above the Eastern Conference playoff line. Over the past two months, Steel FC has collected 15 points in its last nine games.
Steel FC looks to conclude June unbeaten with another test against an Eastern Conference contender when it plays host to the Charlotte Independence on Saturday, June 30. Kick off against from Goodman Stadium is scheduled for 5 p.m.
Bethlehem Steel FC 2, New York Red Bulls II 2
Shots: 12-11 (Bethlehem)
Shots On Goal: 4-3 (New York)
Corners: 10-8 (Bethlehem)
NY – 12’ Stefano Bonomo (PK)
NY – 84’ Stefano Bonomo
BST – 88’ Matt Mahoney (Chris Nanco)
BST – 90+4’ James Chambers (Chris Nanco)
NY – 29’ Jordan Scarlett (Yellow Card)
BST – 35’ Anthony Fontana (Yellow Card)
BST – 45+4’ Fabian Herbers (Yellow Card)
BST – 51’ James Chambers (Yellow Card)
NY – 66’ Stefano Bonomo (Yellow Card)
NY – 81’ Cristian Cassares (Yellow Card)
BST – 89’ Chris Nanco (Yellow Card)
BETHLEHEM STEEL FC STARTING XI
John McCarthy, Matt Real, Brandon Aubrey, Jack Elliott, Matthew Mahoney; James Chambers, Drew Skundrich; Santi Moar, Anthony Fontana (Mike Catalano 72’), Michee Ngalina (Chris Nanco 42’); Fabian Herbers.
Substitutes not used: Jake McGuire, Prosper Chiluya, Ben Ofeimu.
NEW YORK RED BULLS II STARTING XI
Evan Louro; Niko de Vera, Kevin Politz, Jordan Scarlett, Ethan Kutler; Chris Lema, Steve Echevarria (Cristian Casseres 60’), Andrew Tinari; Jared Stroud, Stefano Bonomo (Amando Moreno 86’), Ben Mines (Brian White 66’).
Substitutes not used: Scott Levene, Tommy Reading, Lucas Stauffer, Jose Aguinaga.
Officials: Kevin Broadley, Joe Zawistowski (Assistant), Ben Pilgrim (Assistant), Robert Ryan (Fourth Official).
LVHN TEAM NOTES