Bethlehem Steel FC saw the best season in its young history conclude in the USL Eastern Conference Semifinals as the club fell to defending USL Cup Champions Louisville City FC, 2-0.
Squaring off against Louisville for the second consecutive postseason, the young Bethlehem Steel FC used their youth to its advantage, generating the evening’s first scoring chances. Santi Moar earned the first of six opening half corners for Steel FC in the fourth minute after creating a chance inside the Louisville box. Steel FC continued to build quickly but the hosts made the most of their first shot on target. Niall McCabe dribbled through the midfield and laid it off for a racing Oscar Jimenez. With a quick touch, Jimenez sent a low cross into the box that Ownby stole from a diving Steel FC defender and tucked it into the back of the net.
Trailing for the third time in the postseason, Steel FC nearly equalized before the halftime whistle, turning to playmaker Chris Nanco. The 23-year-old weaved his way toward the middle of the pitch from the wing and fired a hard left-footed try that forced a leaping stop from LouCity’s Greg Ranjitsingh.
As Steel FC began the final 45 minutes pressing hard for an equalizer, Louisville City locked down its defense while looking for counter opportunities. Steel FC snuffed out an early chance for the Kentucky squad in the 47th minute, as Brandon Aubrey went to ground to end a scoring chance. Louisville capitalized on its next chance as Niall McCabe collected a turnover and found Ownby. With just the keeper to beat and racing toward him, Ownby flicked it over Jake McGuire and into the back of the net.
The result concludes Bethlehem Steel FC historic 2018 season in which the club won its first postseason match, earned its highest seeding while setting single-season records for wins (14), goals (58), assists (46) and wins at home (eight).
Bethlehem Steel FC 0, Louisville City FC 2
Shots: 14-12 (Louisville)
Shots on goal: 5-2 (Louisville)
Corners: 9-4 (Bethlehem)
Saves: 3-2 (Bethlehem)
LOU – 34’ Brian Ownby (Oscar Jimenez)
LOU – 59’ Brian Ownby (Niall McCabe)
BST – 57’ Santi Moar (Yellow Card)
LOU – 64’ Kyle Smith (Yellow Card)
LOU – 79’ Brian Ownby (Yellow Card)
BST – 84’ Olivier Mbaizo (Yellow Card)
BST – 87’ Ben Ofeimu (Yellow Card)
BETHLEHEM STEEL FC STARTING XI
Jake McGuire; Matt Mahoney, Ben Ofeimu, Brandon Aubrey, Olivier Mbaizo; James Chambers, Drew Skundrich; Santi Moar, Brenden Aaronson (Omar Holness 74’), Chris Nanco; Faris (Aidan Apodaca 60’)
Substitutes not used: Tomas Romero, Prosper Chiluya, AJ Paterson, Mike Catalano.
LOUISVILLE CITY FC STARTING XI
Greg Ranjitsingh; Oscar Jimenez, Paco Craig, Alexis Souahy, Kyle Smith; Niall McCabe, Paolo DelPiccolo; Brian Ownby, Ilija Ilic (Devon Williams 72’), George Davis IV (Sean Totsch 88’); Cameron Lancaster (Luke Spencer 80’).
Substitutes not used: Tim Dobrolowski, Richard Ballard, Shaun Francis, Magnus Rasmussen.
Officials: Farhad Dadkho (Referee), Walter Heatherly (Assistant Referee), Brooke Mayo (Assistant Referee), Ismir Pekmic (Fourth Official).
LVHN TEAM NOTES
- 15-year-old Selmir Miscic made his matchday 18 debut.