Match Recap: Ngalina & Mbaizo lead attack as Steel fall 3-2 at home against Birmingham Legion FC

CHESTER, Pa. (August 25, 2019) – Bethlehem Steel FC scored two goals while down a man against Birmingham Legion FC who hadn’t given up a goal since June 29th. It was a very physical Sunday night at Talen Energy Stadium that resulted in 10 total cards and four players sent off early.

The match favored the Steel early on, with the speed of Philadelphia Union forwards Michee Ngalina and Sergio Santos causing issues for the Legion’s backline in the first 15 minutes. After a few chances that went unfinished from the Steel, Birmingham struck through Prosper Kasim in the 20th minute. The match saw its first red-card ejections handed out in the 42nd minute, with Santos and the Legion’s Zachary Herivaux sent to their locker rooms early.

The Boys in Blue remained down a goal in the second half when Faris entered in the 59th minute. The Legion were able to grab a second shortly after with a 67th minute goal, but Michee Ngalina had the answer in the 69th. The Congolese forward was the recipient of a good bounce after some great groundwork from Faris on the endline in the Birmingham box. The ball bounced around a bit between the players and then Ngalina buried it in the top netting. The Steel got a chance to level the match as Faris was brought down off the ball and earned a penalty kick for his side. Olivier Mbaizo stepped up and buried the ball in the left corner to level the match and notch his first all-time goal for the Steel.

The match was far from over as Birmingham was able to regain the lead off of a corner kick in the 76th minute. In the immediate aftermath of the visitors’ third goal Faris was shown a red card and sent off, putting the Steel down to nine men. The Legion were also sent down to nine men, losing Razak Cromwell as the physical match progressed. The Steel pushed men forward for the final 10 minutes and gave it their all, but just couldn't find that equalizing goal. The final would end 3-2 in favor of the visitors in a match filled with action.

Bethlehem Steel FC takes on Swope Park Rangers next Sunday, September 1 at Talen Energy Stadium. (6:00 p.m. ET | Talen Energy Stadium | Chester, Pa. | ESPN+).

RECAP:

Bethlehem Steel FC 2 – Birmingham Legion FC 3
Talen Energy Stadium (Chester, Pa.)
Sunday, August 25, 2019

TODAY’S MATCH INFO:

Venue: Talen Energy Stadium, Chester, Pa.
Referee: Elijio Arreguin
Assistant Referees: Justen Lopez; Amicular Sicaju
Fourth Official: Melvin Holmes II
Weather: 75 degrees and sunny
Attendance: 357

GOALS/ASSISTS

BHM - Prosper Kasim (Akeem Ward) 20’
BHM - J.J. Williams (Eric Avila) 67’
BST - Michee Ngalina (Unassisted) 69’
BST - Olivier Mbaizo (Penalty Kick) 74’
BHM - Mikey Lopez (Unassisted) 76’

DISCIPLINARY SUMMARY

BHM - Mikey Lopez (caution) 36’
BST - Zach Zandi (caution) 42’
BST - Sergio Santos (ejection) 42’
BHM - Zachary Herivaux (ejection) 42’
BST - Matt Real (caution) 53’
BHM - Eric Avila (caution) 54’
BST - Cole Turner (caution) 56’
BHM - Razak Cromwell (caution) 73’
BST - Faris (ejection) 77’
BHM - Razak Cromwell (second caution; ejection) 83’

LINEUP

Bethlehem Steel FC: Todd Morton; Matt Real ©, Walter Cortés, Nathan Harriel, Olivier Mbaizo; Cole Turner (James Chambers 64’), Steve Kingue; Zach Zandi, Issa Rayyan (Faris 59’); Michee Ngalina, Sergio Santos

Substitutes not used: Lukas Burns; Axel Picazo, Yomi Samuele Scintu, Jamoi Topey, Chavany Willis

Birmingham Legion FC: Matt Van Oekel ©; Zachary Herivaux, Razak Cromwell, Mathieu Laurent, Akeem Ward; Eric Avila (Kyle Culbertson 78’), Mikey Lopez, Anderson Asiedu, Prosper Kasim; J.J. Williams (Daniel Johnson 68’), Brian Wright (Femi Hollinger-Janzen 82’)

Substitutes not used: Trevor Spangenberg; Joseph Holland, Benjamin Kucera, Marcos Ugarte

TEAM NOTES

Philadelphia Union defender Olivier Mbaizo started his seventh game for the Steel this season and got off-the-mark scoring his first all-time goal for the club.

Bethlehem Steel FC midfielder Zach Zandi went the full 90 minutes in tonight’s match and led the team with a total of three chances created against Birmingham.

Union Forward Michee Ngalina led the team in shots (three) and shots on target (two), which helped him score his fourth goal of the season for the Steel.

The Steel were captained tonight by Matt Real, with the Union defender also leading the way with a game-high four fouls won.

Philadelphia Union forward Sergio Santos started his first game for the Steel tonight and put his only shot of the night on frame in the first half. The match was Santos’ second appearance of the year for the USL Championship side, with his only other appearance coming at Swope Park Rangers on April 6. The Brazilian scored the game-winning goal in the third minute of second-half stoppage time in that match.

Bethlehem Steel FC’s next match will be against Swope Park Rangers at Talen Energy Stadium on Sunday, September 1. (6:00 p.m. ET | Talen Energy Stadium | Chester, Pa. | ESPN+).

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