Captain James Chambers buried a free kick to put Bethlehem Steel FC up 1-0 in the 24th minute but the celebration was muted by the call that preceded it.
Instead of showing a red card to Bradley Bourgeois for a clear last man back foul (Bourgeois made no play on the ball), referee Thomas D. Snyder showed yellow. Instead of playing the rest of the way with 10 men, the visiting Nashville SC stayed 11 strong to mount a comeback.
Former Steel FC, Penn FC and Philadelphia Union defender Ken Tribbett erased that lead three minutes later doing what the Drexel grad does best: score goals from set pieces. His 14th career professional goal came off a corner kick from Lebo Moloto.
The score stayed deadlocked at 1 all until the 63rd minute when another former Penn FC player Ropapa Mensah was played in behind on a ball from Moloto. The flag stayed down on what was a close play and Mensah raced toward goal to finish the breakaway with a hard shot to Carlos Miguel Coronel’s right.
The Steel never really recovered, conceding twice more on sloppy play in the back that led to second chance goals from Kosuke Kimura in the 70th minute and Cameron Lancaster in the 83rd minute. Faris was able to find a couple looks at goal — one off a well-taken cross from Chambers he was unable to put on frame and another a shot in the box Nashville keeper Connor Sparrow did well to tip over the bar.
In the end, the visitors had their first every comeback win and the Steel fell lost for the second straight game and the fifth time in their last eight. Their last win came over the Charleston Battery on April 13.
Though Derrick Jones picked up an injury recently and didn’t make the trip, Nashville’s lineup had a couple of other familiar faces in former Steel left back Taylor Washington and midfielder Bolu Akinyode, who came off the bench in the 79th minute. Selmir Miscic and Axel Picazo both made their professional debuts for Steel.
Sunday’s game was played at McCarthy Stadium on the campus of La Salle University, which has a narrow field surrounded by a track (and the locker rooms a walk across the street). The game was moved to allow the grass at Talen Energy Stadium time to recover from the strain on the new field, which has been a source of angst among players and fans alike since the start of the season.
The Steel will be back at McCarthy Stadium on Saturday at 8 p.m. to host Saint Louis FC. The venue for their game against the Tampa Bay Rowdies on June 22 is still to be determined.