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Steel FC edges Villanova in preseason friendly

Zach Zandi delivered an assist against his former team while Faris had a goal and an assist for Steel FC on Saturday

Ben Ofeimu (middle) defends Theo Quartey in the second half of a friendly between Bethlehem Steel FC and Villanova on February 16, 2019
Matt Ralph

Zach Zandi didn’t have to wait long to return to his old stomping ground at Villanova University. The rookie Bethlehem Steel FC midfielder delivered an assist on the Steel’s first goal in the fourth minute in a friendly against his former team on Saturday.

Saturday’s game marked the second time this week that the Philadelphia Union Academy grad and former Penn Fusion Academy midfielder from West Chester was facing former teammates. On Wednesday night, Steel FC fell to West Chester United, which Zandi spent time with after Villanova’s season ended in the fall, on a second half penalty.

Three players who played in Wednesday’s game for West Chester United — former Villanova players Andreas Bartosinski and Enda O’Neill and Chad Poarch — joined the Steel as guest players on Saturday. Vinny Tasca, who played for Philadelphia Lone Star in the NPSL last summer, was in goal in the second half for the Steel. NCAA rules limited the Steel’s options for playing unsigned academy players in the match.

Faris opened the scoring early when Zandi set up him and Faris set up James Chambers to double the lead in the 18th minute. Theo Quartey pulled a goal back for the Wildcats in the 22nd minute but that was as close as Villanova would come to repeating a 3-2 win their last meeting in March 2018.

The Steel head to Virginia for their next preseason match on Wednesday against Loudoun United, D.C. United’s new USL Championship team. The scrimmage is closed to the public.