Other than two late decisions, one of the youngest rosters fielded to date played a great game. Bethlehem Steel FC started what was their fifth different defensive pairing, this time with a different goalie, and still managed a respectable point on the road.
I think Steel FC could've killed the game off and got out of Rochester with three points. Bethlehem battled back from 1-0 down and after a great run, Gabe Gissie won a penalty that was turned in well by Ryan Richter 22 minutes in. After a fair amount of disappointing corners in the first half, James Chambers figured out the right ball in to find Mickey Daly for his first goal for Bethlehem right before the hour mark to make it 2-1 Steel FC. The following 30 minutes and some change saw Steel FC clamp down and play a more counter-attacking style that almost paid dividends twice. Fred did well later on to hold up the ball for Josh Heard who saw his shot go just wide of the net. Fast forward to the 91st minute, and Cory Burke was barreling down on the Rhinos net after his defense absorbed some pressure. Was it a surefire scoring opportunity? Probably not, but Burke would have at least chewed some extra time off the clock if not for a very curious decision by Fred to pull the shirt of a Rochester defender off the ball. Fred was whistled for a foul, and the Rhinos were able to restart and attack the Steel FC defense for about a minute.
After a foul by Derrick Jones just over the halfway line, Rochester sent in a somewhat dangerous ball that Samir Badr came out to punch away well off his line. Badr got to the ball but the rebound fell to Rochester, who had to fight off a Mickey Daly clearance, but it finally found the back of the net and Rochester stole the point back from Steel FC, and the game finished a 2-2 draw.
All in all, the young lineup for Steel FC played a good game against a USL mainstay, and Philadelphia Union Academy products Matthew Real and Auston Trusty - apart from one or two mistakes - fit in seamlessly, which is an accomplishment given their extremely young age. Next weekend looks to be a big game, as Bethlehem will look to repay New York Red Bulls II after the baby Bulls gouged Steel FC 4-0 in Harrison earlier in the season.