Bethlehem Steel FC tied Louisville City FC 0-0 Sunday afternoon at Goodman Stadium. Steel FC now have a record of 2-2-2 in their 2016 inaugural season and have extended their unbeaten streak to three.
The draw marked the second consecutive scoreless draw for Steel FC after last weekend’s game against Charleston Battery.
“I think this one had more life to it, certainly on both sides of the ball for them and for us, but happy to keep clean sheets,” head coach Brendan Burke said. “You have to remember we have a 17-year-old center back out there and we just played three of the better teams in the East in my opinion, or historically anyway. I am very happy to keep two clean sheets and only concede one in the game before that off of a set piece.”
17-year-old Philadelphia Union Academy member Auston Trusty started his fourth consecutive game for Bethlehem Steel FC Sunday.
“I think Trusty is doing well overall as an academy kid, Taylor Washington is doing well in his first year as a professional and Richter is a big time pro,” goalkeeper John McCarthy said. “Like you said you have a variety of guys across the back line but they do well with it and it's just a chemistry thing that is going to grow.”
The first 20 minutes of the game were mostly played in Louisville’s half and Steel FC saw many chances on goal. In the 18th minute, Fabian Herbers beat many Louisville defenders and played Eric Ayuk through on goal, but Louisville keeper Greg Ranjitsingh denied the scoring opportunity.
For the remainder of the half Bethlehem Steel FC defended as Louisville played a high press. In the 27th minute, Louisville City FC broke through the Steel FC defense only for Niall McCabe to send his open shot over the crossbar.
In the 31st minute McCarthy played goalkeeper heroics making a diving save to deny Sean Reynold’s headed shot. It was not the last of vital saves made by the Steel FC keeper. Just before the half, McCarthy made another save to revoke USL leading goalscorer Chandler Hoffman’s chance on goal.
The second half was back and fourth between both teams. The post came to Bethlehem’s rescue in the 55th minute when Andrew Lubahn sent a bullet at Steel FC’s goal.
“I thought in the first 20 minutes of the game we were very good, the next 20 they were very good and then in the second half I thought it was dead even,” Burke said. “We actually had probably the two best looks after they hit the post in the second half.”
In total, McCarthy made seven saves during the game earning his second consecutive shutout and third of the season.
“Two shutouts is great back to back,” McCarthy said. “I am happy about it, to be down here, it's a great opportunity for me and I am just trying to make the best of it.”
Bethlehem Steel FC made a last minute push in which both Seku Conneh and Cole Missimo saw chances on goal. In the 91st minute, Derrick Jones headed Walter Restrepo’s perfectly placed cross but the shot went over the crossbar and the game ended scoreless.
“You're creating chances 90 minutes in against right now the top team in the league, and we're at home, so I would expect to do that,” Burke said. “I am happy with that. Those are clear-cut chances. Those are good chances. Those will be goals at some point this season.”
Steel FC (2-2-2) return to Goodman Stadium on Sunday, May 15 when they face FC Montreal at 4 p.m. Bethlehem Steel FC will go on the road to face Orlando City B next Saturday, May 7 at 7:30 p.m. The game will be available on the USL official YouTube channel. Single game and group tickets are available by visiting http://www.bethlehemsteelfc.com/tickets or by calling 844-STEELFC.