Hopefully, this was not a performance that is a sign of things to come for Bethlehem Steel FC. Things started out poorly for BSFC when Josh Yaro tapped in an own goal on a botched clearance in the first minute. Future New York Red Bulls hopeful Alex Muyl scored two minutes later, and really the game was over. Brendan Burke used his third lineup in as many games, and this seemed to be the most unorganized group yet.
Red Bull II are the best attacking team in USL right now. Alex Muyl, Brandon Allen, Anatole Abang and Junior Flemmings are a dynamic, young, and powerful group of forwards who came at the Steel FC defense hard. The first 45' was a one way street, with the Baby Bulls looking like they could've hit for four. Usual standout Josh Yaro had a match he'll want to put behind him, while 17 year old academy prospect/UNC Tarheels commit Auston Trusty had a fantastic debut. The attack for Steel (when the Red Bulls missed a shot or didn't win a corner) was troubled. The loss of Bolu Akinyode - usually the target man for John McCarthy's long balls - clearly crippled the Steel attack. It also didn't help that Leo Fernandes missed a penalty kick that would have made the game 2-1 in the 22nd minute.
One more big talking piece here. I know Brendan Burke doesn't get to pick (necessarily, it's a joint process from what he's said) who from the first team comes down and plays for Bethlehem. That being said I think after giving up four goals, perhaps John McCarthy should be the backup for Samir Badr next week against Richmond. When you have a back line that is as inexperienced as the one Steel played last night - Taylor Washington is 22, Yaro is 19, Trusty is 17 and Ryan Richter is the old man at 26 - they need a guy between the posts who is able to organize a back line and constantly can tell his defense what he wants. Samir Badr did this all of the preseason. Bethlehem gave the opposition little to look at and even drew the same RBII team that they played last night.
That being said, there were a few positives for Steel after last night. Derrick Jones looked fine. Fabian Herbers looks a lot better for Steel than he does for the first team, and once again Trusty had a hell of a game for a 17 year old making his debut against a clinically smooth Red Bull attack. On top of that, BSFC gets Bolu back when they play one of the pillars of the USL in the Richmond Kickers on Sunday. They just have to do it without one of our biggest players, James Chambers due to being sent off (more on that below).
Odds and Ends:
-Trusty and Heard made their pro debuts last night
-Amobi Okugo was in fact on the field for NYRBII and played a whole 90' he'll probably be with the first team at some point this year
-James Chambers picked up a yellow in the 22nd minute (initially credited to Jones) and another one in the 91st which will see him miss Sunday's game.