Bethlehem Steel FC won their second home game of the season 2-1 Sunday afternoon against Richmond Kickers.
“I was very happy with the way we played,” head coach Brendan Burke said. “We talked at length at halftime about not dropping into a shell and absorbing as much pressure. Disappointed to give up a goal on a set piece but outside of that I thought we continued to play dangerous in their end and maintain possession for short spells on their end of the field.”
Bethlehem Steel FC saw the first real chance on goal in the 19th minute when Eric Ayuk found Derrick Jones in the six-yard box. The young Cameroonian crossed the ball to Jones, whose aerial shot went straight into the hands of the Kickers’ keeper Ryan Taylor.
The home side scored just a few minutes later in the 21st minute when Cole Missimo played a back-heeled pass to Ayuk who scored from the top of the 18.
“It feels great,” Ayuk said. “So happy because the fans came, a lot of fans, so we have to make the fans happy.”
Bethlehem extended the lead to 2-0 after the start of the second half in the 46th minute when Jones capitalized on Ayuk’s assist. Ayuk dribbled down the pitch, laying the ball off to Jones at the top of the 18. Jones then scored his first professional goal after joining Bethlehem Steel FC from the Philadelphia Union Academy.
“That was by far his best performance, now he knows what it feels like so expect more of that,” Burke said. “That was very good out of him.”
Just four minutes later, Yudai Imura scored from a corner kick and made the score 2-1.
Sunday’s match as also a historic game for Jamie Luchini, who made is first professional debut after signing with Bethlehem Steel from Lehigh University.
“I know what I can bring to a team,” Luchini said. “I’m a guy that is going to contribute offensively and can work defensively as well. It was good to get that many minutes in todays game, that’s something I can get off my back now.”
Steel FC (2-2-0) return to action on Sunday, April 24 when they take on Charleston Battery at 3 p.m. The game will be televised on Service Electric TV2.
Bethlehem Steel FC 2, Richmond Kickers 1
BSFC – Eric Ayuk (Cole Missimo) 21’
BSFC – Derrick Jones (Eric Ayuk) 46’
RIC – Yudai Imura 50’
RIC – Travis Pittman (yellow) 54’
BSFC – Derrick Jones (yellow) 79’
BETHLEHEM STEEL FC STARTING XI
John McCarthy; Taylor Washington, Auston Trusty, Mickey Daly, Ryan Richter ©; Derrick Jones, Boluwatife Akinyode, Eric Ayuk, Gabe Gissie (Amoy Brown 86’), Cole Missimo (Jamie Luchini 65’); Seku Conneh (Josh Heard 90+1’)
Substitutes not used: Samir Badr, Mark McKenzie, Lamine Conte, Joseph DeZart II
RICHMOND KICKERS STARTING XI
Ryan Taylor, Braeden Troyer, Travis Pittman (Matthew Delicâte 77’), William Yomby, Hugh Roberts, Mike Callahan (Owusu Sekyere 69'), Lucas Paulini (Luiz Fernando 37’), Brian Ownby (Sascha Görres 88’), Miguel Aguilar (Sunny Jane 72’), Yudai Imura, Jason Yeisley
Substitutes not used: Sawyer Gaffney, Romulo Peretta
Guido Gonzales Jr (Center), Joseph Zawistowski (Assistant), Brandon Smith (Assistant), Patrick Casey (Fourth).