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Rochester Rhinos down Bethlehem Steel FC 3-2

A furious second half ended with Rochester on top.

Pat Jacoby Photography

Bethlehem and Rochester opened up their respective seasons with the first match of USL's second weekend. Even though there’s still a log of season left, it's going to be hard to top this one. The Rhinos came out with the 3-2 win, but there are a great deal of positives to take from this match for Steel FC.

About that slow start. Steel had the majority of the ball in the first half, but a swift strike from "ghost of Philadelphia Union academy players past" Darius Madison gave Rochester the early lead. Ten minutes later a Wal Fall penalty had the Rhinos up two. Steel FC needed something different as the club (who had eight Union loanees) had most of the possession but none of the chances. Santi Moar and Marcus Epps switched sides of the field.

They both immediately made a huge impact. Steel looked up for the challenge, leading to a penalty that Charlie Davies calmly converted to make the game 2-1 right at the half.

Bethlehem continued where they left off and especially after the introduction of Cory Burke and Seku Conneh. Shifting Burke out to the right and having Conneh up top had Steel playing some of their best soccer. If you thought breaking from tradition and having Seku play up top was a bit odd, you’re not alone.

After the match, Conneh said “Cory and I play the same position but today the coach’s chose for us to play together and I think we created a lot of threats from it. But like I said, it was unlucky the result.”

The two were rewarded for playing well in uncharted territory as Burke drew a penalty that Conneh absolutely smashed into the bottom left corner.

After a good Ken Tribbett tackle and an amazing one on one save by 16 year old Academy product Tomas Romero, Steel looked like they were in for a draw. Jochen Graf had other plans as after Jalen Brown nodded the ball on, Graf was able to slot just beyond Romero and Rochester escaped with a 3-2 win.

Steel FC head coach Brendan Burke was rightfully proud of his five debutantes (Moar, Epps, Jones, Monge and Romero) adding his two cents, saying “I think the most important thing was that nobody backed down. Josue (Monge) helped draw a penalty at the end of the first half that gave us some momentum going into halftime. We certainly turned the tide coming out of halftime and were unlucky to not get two or three goals from it.”

Unlucky as they may be, Steel FC dropped points in a game they deserved at least one from. Next week Bethlehem take on FC Cincinnati, who wont be quite as forgiving if Steel start slow.

Thoughts? Didnt expect 90 minutes of Brian Carroll? Let us know in the comments!