Bethlehem played a strong first half, getting out to a 2-0 lead in 14 minutes Saturday night in Orlando. Offensively this is one of the better games they played. Eric Ayuk showed why he's so valuable to Steel FC by terrorizing defenders all night. Ayuk kicked off the scoring when he played a great ball in that found the foot of Orlando City B's Conor Donovan and put Steel FC in front 1-0. Two minutes later Fabian Herbers found the back of the net off a Derrick Jones assist and it was 2-0 to the visitors.
Shortly after that Michael Cox showed CJ Sapong levels of strength and dished a hold up ball to Tyler Turner who saw his shot deflect off Bolu Akinyode and out of the reach of a sprawling John McCarthy. Turner gets credit for his third goal (at right back nonetheless) this season and the Lion Cubs are back within striking distance at the half.
After a strong first half, Bethlehem looked like they could cruise to a decent victory away from home. However, Walter Restrepo took offense to a shove in the back when he was on frame in the 50th minute, went down, didn't get a call and proceeded to get into an altercation with the Orlando defender. Walter saw red, the defender didn't get anything for his part and Steel FC went down a man.
This would be the opening that OCB needed as a great ball over the top to Michael Cox beat the Steel FC offside trap and he slotted through McCarthy's leg making the score an even 2-2 after 53 minutes. That's when things got a bit weird. Bethlehem looked to be the better team down a man for the first time this season. Ayuk was winning free kicks, Chambers won a free kick from about 30 yards that Seku Conneh would have put in top left if it wasn't for a great Earl Edwards Jr save.
Steel FC might feel a bit hard done by giving up a 2-0 lead and only getting a point in Orlando, but more great play by the team as a whole and some great spirit to make things hard on OCB when the Cubs were up a man will mean Bethlehem sees their midtable spot unchanged going into next week's match against FC Montreal at home.
Goals: OCB: 11' Conor Donovan (OG), 17' Turner (Asst:Cox) 53' #51 Cox (Asst by Turner) BST: 13' Herbers (Asst by Jones)