CHESTER, Pa. (October 6) – Faris scored from the penalty spot, but Bethlehem Steel couldn’t find the second goal they were chasing as Charlotte Independence used set pieces to pry three points from the home side. Aaron Maund and Hugh Roberts scored on either side of Faris’ goal to lead the Independence to an important road win.
Philadelphia Union players Matt Freese, Olivier Mbaizo, and Michee Ngalina all earned starts for Steel, with future Union player Cole Turner — signed to a 2020 pre-contract — forming a center back pairing alongside academy standout Nathan Harriel.
Steel had a lot of technical skill on the pitch but lacked size, and the Independence took advantage with two back post goals off dead balls. Maund swept in only six minutes into the contest, rising and powering home before Steel fans had settled into their seats.
In open play, however, Bethlehem looked the superior side. Both Michee Ngalina and Faris prodded the visitors’ back four but found clear chances hard to come by.
Finally, Faris got behind Roberts in the 12th and was brought down in the box. The striker shimmied up to the penalty and punched it past Brandon Miller’s outstretched hands.
Things became heated near the half-hour mark when Steel captain James Chambers and Alex Martinez squared up. Martinez head-butted Chambers and was promptly dismissed, leaving Bethlehem a man up.
Going into halftime, Brendan Burke’s side was controlling play but still looking at a tightly locked opponent.
A young bench meant Burke leaned on his starters to find a breakthrough, and it was a massive disappointment when Roberts rose highest in the 67th minute to drop the winner behind Freese.
The goalkeeper’s good feet meant Roberts had a small window to hit, but hit it he did.
Steel pulled Chavanny Willis and Axel Picazo off in favor of Saed Diaz and Steve Kingue, but there was no way through. Charlotte held on to the points and left the Steel grasping at chances that could have been.
Luckily, a chance at redemption comes on Wednesday. Steel travel to face Atlanta United 2 at 7:30 p.m. ET, live on ESPN+.
Bethlehem Steel FC 2 – Charlotte Independence 1
Talen Energy Stadium (Chester, Pa.)
Sunday, October 6, 2019
TODAY’S MATCH INFO:
Venue: Talen Energy Stadium, Chester Pa.
Referee: Matt Franz
Assistant Referees: Patrick Casey, Tyler Wyrostek
Fourth Official: Adorae Whitesel
Weather: 72 degrees and cloudy
CLT – Aaron Maund (Enzo Martínez) 6’
BST – Faris (Penalty Kick) 14’
CLT - Hugh Roberts (Abdoulie Mansally) 67’
CLT – Hugh Roberts (caution) 13’
CLT – Alex Martínez (ejection) 31’
BST – James Chambers (caution) 31’
BST - Axel Picazo (caution) 69’
CLT - Abdoulie Mansally (caution) 72’
BST - Steve Kingue (caution) 82’
Bethlehem Steel FC: Matt Freese; Walter Cortés, Cole Turner, Nathan Harriel, Olivier Mbaizo; Chavany Willis (Saed Díaz 71’), James Chambers ©; Zach Zandi, Axel Picazo (Steve Kingue, 81’); Faris, Michee Ngalina
Substitutes not used: Todd Morton; Shanyder Borgelin, Dante Huckaby, Selmir Miscic, Ben Ofeimu
Charlotte Independence: Brandon Miller; Abdoulie Mansally, Aaron Maund, Hugh Roberts, Chad Poarch (Clay Dimick 25’); Ricardo Bocanegra, Dominic Oduro; Valentín Sabella (Jake Areman 64’), Enzo Martínez ©, Alex Martínez; Jorge Herrera (Niki Jackson 79’)
Substitutes not used: Brandon Barnes; Isaac Angking, Steven Thicot
Bethlehem Steel FC forward Faris scored his team-high eighth goal of the season and also led the team in total shots.
Midfielder Zach Zandi put in a shift in the midfield with one shot, one chance created and a team-high two fouls won.
Philadelphia Union Academy midfielder Axel Picazo led the team in shots on target with two of the team’s total three.
Walter Cortés made his presence be known in the backline with a team-high three tackles won.
The Steel hit the road next for a mid-week match against Atlanta United 2 at Fifth Third Bank Stadium. Kickoff from Georgia is set for 7:30 p.m. ET, with all the action available live on ESPN+ (7:30 p.m. ET | Fifth Third Bank Stadium | Kennesaw, Ga. | ESPN +).