Bethlehem Steel FC fell 2-1 to FC Cincinnati in the team’s inaugural home opener Sunday afternoon in front of 3,655 fans. After conceding two goals in the first half, Eric Ayuk scored in the 90th minute to give the home side a last minute push.
“I was happy with our response,” Bethlehem Steel FC head coach Brendan Burke said. “We dug ourselves a hole today obviously going down two-nil at halftime. In a professional setting it’s a tall order to come back from that. Our response was good, we found a goal eventually, it just came a little late. We hit the bar there at the end. I think the response was there just not enough today.”
Despite seeing strong chances on goal in the first half, FC Cincinnati found the back of the net in the 25th minute. Andrew Wiedeman scored after building an attack with teammate Kenny Walker.
Ten minutes later, Sean Okoli beat Bethlehem Steel FC keeper John McCarthy in a one v. one situation to extend Cincinnati’s lead to 2-0.
“I thought it was a lack of reaction and intensity in midfield that actually lead to those goals,” Burke said. “I thought it was the first layer where we broke down. Then it left our defenders in numbers down situations.”
Bethlehem Steel FC looked for an equalizer and in the second half, and had the support of the home fans cheering from the sidelines.
“It was a special day for the club,” captain Ryan Richter said. ”The fans didn’t let us down. They gave us great support and it was a really special atmosphere. I just wish we could’ve come away with three points.”
Seku Conneh, James Chambers and Cole Missimo entered the match in the second half to give the side new momentum, but in the 80th minute Bolu Akinyode received a second yellow reducing Steel FC to 10.
Despite playing with 10 men for the last 10 minutes of the game, Steel FC created several chances on goal chances. In the 90th minute, Ayuk scored in an acrobatic fashion to make the score 2-1.
One minute later, captain Ryan Richter hit the post denying the home side a last minute scoring opportunity. The game ended with a final score of 2-1.
“Yeah I was happy to score, but disappointed in the game,” Ayuk said. “We just have to keep working hard and keep moving forward in our game.”
Steel FC (1-1-0) return to action on Sunday, April 10 when they take on New York Red Bulls II at Red Bull Arena. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. and can be seen live on USL’s official YouTube channel.
FC Cincinnati 2, Bethlehem Steel FC 1
CIN – Andrew Wiedeman (Kenney Walker) 25’
CIN – Sean Okoli (Andrew Wiedeman) 35’
BSFC – Eric Ayuk 90’
CIN – Kenney Walker (yellow) 40’
BSFC – Boluwatife Akinyode (yellow) 69’
CIN – Antoine Hoppenot (yellow) 80’
BSFC – Boluwatife Akinyode (second yellow) 80’
BETHLEHEM STEEL FC STARTING XI
John McCarthy; Taylor Washington, Joshua Yaro, Mickey Daly (Cole Missimo 72’), Ryan Richter ©; Derrick Jones (James Chambers 55’), Boluwatife Akinyode, Leo Fernandes, Eric Ayuk, Walter Restrepo; Gabe Gissie (Seku Conneh 61’).
Substitutes not used: Samir Badr, Auston Trusty, Mark McKenzie, Amoy Brown.
FC CINCINNATI STARTING XI
Mitch Hildebrandt; Tyler Polak, Harrison Delbridge, Austin Berry, Pat McMahon (Derek Luke 88’); Ross Tomaselli, Kenney Walker, Corben Bone, Jimmy McLaughlin, Andrew Wiedeman (Omar Mohomed, 83’); Sean Okoli (Antoine Hoppenot 74’).
Substitutes not used: Dallas Jaye, Paul Nicholson, Luke Spencer, Alvaro Anton Ripoll.