Bethlehem Steel played the second in a series of five games on a daunting road trip. Following a win in Charlotte last week, Steel FC followed that gritty performance with a blankety blank blank against Wilmington Friday.
The first half was pretty back and forth with two chances really standing out. First, this beauty from Seku Conneh.
It’s gorgeous. It was actually Conneh’s first goal for Steel FC. Probably pops up in the Goal of the Week voting for USL. The second one was a goofy/amazing series from Samir Badr/his goal frame.
Did he touch every one of those shots? Nope. Did he get some help from his defenders, notably Auston Trusty with a deflection off his head to cushion the ball to Badr’s hands? Yup. Does it matter a whole lot? Eh, maybe. Worrying as the consistent Jaws-esque attack that Wilmington had for the majority of the first half Bethlehem found their groove right before the whistle thanks in part to James Chambers distributing the ball well.
Elsewhere, Cory Burke was able to continue his hard work ethic that proved so vital for him in preseason. If the Jamaican had a bit more time or some better service in the box, he might’ve been able to come away with another goal early on. Defensively Mickey Daly seemed to be, well, off. Something just didn’t quite click, and the generally solid defender was shaky in both his passes back to his keeper and his outlet passes to his midfield.
The second half was a mixed bag. Samir Badr let in a wonky goal early after he dropped a ball that might’ve been close to sneaking across his line right onto Ashani Fairclough’s foot. Wilmington seemed to have more chances late on as well. Justin Moose was one of the only guys this year so far who has been able to give that Steel FC midfield of Jones, Akinyode and Chambers serious headaches. His pace and generally good delivery was enough to see Samir Badr have to pull plenty of rabbits out of his goalie mitts to keep the game at 1-1. Some poor clearances/communication by Mickey Daly and Taylor Washington, two generally solid players, saw Badr’s night become a bit harder then it had to be.
Offensively in the second half Steel FC were stagnant. Cory Burke was pretty good with keeping possession and weaving in and out of the Hammerheads defense like the snake on the Steel FC crest, but he had zero help from his midfield. The long shots that James Chambers took in the first half disappeared, and the over the top balls from Steel FC lost their sting. The best thing I can say about the offensive effort from Bethlehem in the second 45 was that Gabe Gissie returned to action and showed some of the pace that makes him so dangerous in the attack.
Overall this was a rather lackluster showing from both sides. Besides a beautfiul Conneh chip, and a Badr blunder, this most likely would have been 0-0.
Next week Bethlehem move up the east coast a bit as they take on Richmond Kickers in the second meeting between the DC United and Philadelphia Union affiliates. Keep it here for all the Bethlehem Steel FC news and information you could ever need.