Led by a strong defensive effort and timely goals, Bethlehem Steel FC pushed its winning streak to three matches with a 3-0 shutout on the road at the Charlotte Independence.
Playing in the finale of a short two-game road swing in five days, Steel FC extended is shutout streak to 230 minutes with the result that seats the club above the Eastern Conference playoff line in sixth place at the night’s end.
Offensively, Steel FC continued its scoring ways as James Chambers, Omar Holness and Drew Skundrich each found the back of the net for the second time of 2018. Faris, Olivier Mbaizo and Santi Moar aided in the goals, with the trio each collected an assist. In net, Philadelphia Union goalkeeper Jake McGuire picked up his second consecutive shutout.
Playing in its second match in five days, Steel FC showed little fatigue as they came out firing early in the contest. In the second minute, Omar Holness fired a timely pass to lead Faris behind the Independence defense that forced a save by goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra. Steel FC kept on the front foot and struck in the seventh minute on the goal from Chambers. While Charlotte was able to deny a Michee Ngalina, Chambers fired a shot off Faris but received a perfect rebound that gave the veteran the chance he needed with a right-footed tally.
While Steel FC was denied goals by the far post early in the final half, Mbaizo and Holness sealed the club’s three-game winning streak in the 74th minute. The 20-year-old Cameroonian collected possession at the edge of the box and beat his defender inside for a run to the by-line. With the keeper and center backs closing in, Mbaizo laid a soft pass to Holness that fired into the back of the net.
Bethlehem Steel FC pushed its offensive total to 10 goals in three matches in the 89th minute on a counter attack goal from Moar and Skundrich. Collecting a pass at the edge of the box, Skundrich went to his left to Moar. The Spaniard raced in on goal forcing the keeper to commit before laying it back to Skundrich at the far post for the tap in goal.
Bethlehem Steel FC continues its four-match slate in 13 days with a return home for a showdown with in-state rival Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC. Kick off from Goodman Stadium on the campus of Lehigh University is scheduled for 5 p.m. and will be broadcast live on ESPN+.
Bethlehem Steel FC 3, Charlotte Independence 0
Sportsplex at Matthews
Shots: 21-17 (Bethlehem)
Shots On Goal: 9-4 (Bethlehem)
Corners: 7-7 (Charlotte)
Saves: 6-4 (Charlotte)
BST – 7’ James Chambers (Faris)
BST – 74’ Omar Holness (Olivier Mbaizo)
BST – 89’ Drew Skundrich (Santi Moar)
CLT – 35’ Kevan George (Yellow Card)
BST – 65’ Matt Real (Yellow Card)
BST – 90’ Drew Skundrich (Yellow Card)
BETHLEHEM STEEL FC STARTING XI
Jake McGuire; Matt Real, Brandon Aubrey, Matt Mahoney, Olivier Mbaizo; James Chambers, Drew Skundrich; Santi Moar, Omar Holness (Brenden Aaronson 79’), Michee Ngalina (Chris Nanco 56’); Faris (Aidan Apodaca 63’).
Substitutes not used: Tomas Romero, Prosper Chiluya, Ben Ofeimu.
CHARLOTTE INDEPENDENCE STARTING XI
Andrew Dykstra; Sam Vines (Caleb Calvert 56’0, Je-Vaughn Watson, Bilal Duckett, Joel Johnson; Kay Voser, Kevan George; Jorge Herrera, Alex Martinez, Jake Areman (Mutaya Mwape 56’); Yann Ekra (Eamon Zayed 76’).
Substitutes not used: Brandon Miller, Henry Kalungi, Ricardo Perez, Greg Jordan.
Officials: Amin Hadzic, Benjamin Wotten (Assistant), Gregory Brigman (Assistant), Joshua Escobar (Fourth Official).
LVHN TEAM NOTES