The New York Red Bulls can’t solve the Philadelphia Union organization this season. Days after the Union knocked the Red Bulls out of the US Open Cup, Bethlehem Steel mounted a furious late comeback to earn a 2-2 draw with Red Bulls II Wednesday evening. Chris Nanco, on as a substitute for the injured Michee Ngalina, assisted both strikes, with James Chambers scoring the tying goal with the last kick of the match.
Jack Elliott made his return to Steel playing at right center back, with Matt Real joining him in the back line and Anthony Fontana and Fabian Herbers playing through the center. John McCarthy remained in goal for Bethlehem.
Fontana and Herbers endured a frustrating evening, and both were booked for kicking the ball away after a whistle. Fontana played in an advanced midfield role but struggled to get on the ball, with the Red Bulls’ high pressure preventing Steel from proceeding through the center of the pitch. Herbers played as a lone striker, and though he and Fontana pressed the New York back line well, they had real issues creating opportunities.
Relive the hectic final moments now! https://t.co/UgowwZO6Hm— Bethlehem Steel FC (@BSteelFC) June 20, 2018
Ngalina, on the other hand, found success up the left by pushing the ball past his defender and using his speed to drive at Red Bulls. Herbers’ positioning in the center created gaps between the New York fullbacks and centerbacks, and this allowed Ngalina to explode up the wing, serving in strong crosses once he approached the area.
In back, Elliott was uncharacteristically loose with his passing and this led to squeaky-bum moments as Red Bull turned the Union over and drove hard at the net. As in Cincinnati last week, Real’s 1v1 defending was strong, but Red Bulls were able to draw him out and isolate right centerback Brandon Aubrey, who gave up a penalty to Ben Mines in the first half.
Steel are off for 10 days now, returning to action on June 30 in Goodman Stadium against an intriguing Charlotte Independence side.