A short-handed Bethlehem Steel FC squad won their third straight preseason match behind a pair of first-half goals to top Syracuse University 2-0 on Saturday afternoon at YSC Sports.
Allen opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the 25th minute after trialist and former Orlando City B and U.S. youth international Joe Gallardo drew a penalty in the box. Four minutes later, former University of Wisconsin Green Bay star Audi Jepson added his second goal since joining the Steel on trial.
“Syracuse was a really good, stiff test and it really wasn’t a 2-0 game,” Bethlehem Steel FC head coach Brendan Burke said after the game. “We got stretched at times and only having 12 players available, guys had to hit the wall and push through it for the first time in preseason. I thought we were really sharp in the middle part of the first half and in the second half the game became really stretched and they certainly had the better game in the final half.”
Due to NCAA rules prohibiting college recruits from playing, Burke was unable to use any high school-age players from the Philadelphia Union Academy and had a couple other injuries from his roster that further depleted the ranks.
Since the Steel do not have a rostered goalkeeper and third-string Union goalkeeper Jake McGuire was still with the first team in Florida, former Pittsburgh Riverhounds and Harrisburg City Islanders goalkeeper Keasel Broome filled in as a guest player. Academy coach and Steel FC original Ryan Richter even chipped in, lacing up his cleats in the 66th minute.
Chris Nanco played the final 15 minutes against his alma mater, which has already turned over all but seven players on its roster in the two years since Nanco’s senior season.
Like to take the moment to thank @CuseMSOC for coming down for a preseason match! Had a great time taking the field with old teammates and catching up with coaches and players! Grateful for all that this program has done for me! Continue to bleed orange! #DareToDream ❤️ https://t.co/QfatnyYETo— Chris Nanco (@ChrisNanco) February 24, 2018
Of the 20 players Orange head coach Ian McIntyre used in the game Saturday, 12 were freshmen last season. Another, Canadian youth international Ryan Raposo, is an early enrollee from high school. Gardner-Webb transfer Severin Soerlie was another new face on the Orange squad that played Saturday. Langhorne, Pa., native Dylan McDonald, who made just two appearances as a freshman in the fall, and Reading United alum Hugo Delhommelle both started the match.
Thank you to @BSteelFC for hosting us today. Good luck this season! A terrific road trip + we continue to learn about our group. Punished today for a couple of mistakes but overall some really good moments in the game. Encouraging signs from our young squad ⚽️— Ian McIntyre (@ismcinty) February 25, 2018
BETHLEHEM STEEL FC STARTING XI
Keasel Broome**; Mickey George*, Brandon Aubrey, AJ Paterson, Matt Mahoney (Sam Wancowicz* 45’); Mike Catalano, Gregory Messam Jr.*; Aidan Apodaca (Ryan Richter** 66’), Joe Gallardo* (Chris Nanco 75’), Audi Jepson*; Brandon Allen
** Guest Player
SYRACUSE STARTING XI
Henderick Hilpert; Jan Breitenmoser, Dylan McDonald, Sondre Norheim, John-Austin Ricks; Simon Triantafillou, Jonathan Hagman, Severin Soerlie, Tajon Buchanon; Ryan Raposo, Hugo Delhommelle. Substitutes used: Adnan Bakalovic, Lukas Rubio
Second half starters
Jake Leahy; Jan Breitenmoser, Kamal Miller, Sondre Norheim, John-Austin Ricks; Simon Triantafillou, Djimon Johnson, Adnan Bakalovic, Lukas Rubio; Hugh Delhommelle, Severin Soerlie.
Substitutes used: Tajon Buchanan, Jonanthan Hagman, Ryan Raposo, Dylan McDonald, Nikolas Steiner, Evan Peters, Matt Pickard, Manny Nunez.