It took just a few minutes in a Bethlehem Steel FC uniform for Chris Nanco to show the type of impact he would have on the club in 2017.
A third-round selection by the Philadelphia Union in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft, Nanco joined Steel FC officially on March 8 and spent the preseason working to showcase his skills that were widely seen at Syracuse University the past four seasons. The Brampton, Ontario native appeared in all seven preseason matches, notching a goal in the club’s first match against Junior Lone Star.
After not making the club’s matchday 18-player roster in the season opener against the Rochester Rhinos on April 1, Nanco continued to work hard and earned a spot on the bench the following week against FC Cincinnati.
Days later, Nanco made his professional debut in the 59th minute on the road at Harrisburg City Islanders and made an instant impact. With the club trailing 2-1, the Canadian delivered the game-tying goal in the 64th minute, just four minutes and 46 seconds after taking to the field.
As the summer progressed, Nanco continued to contribute toward the Eastern Conference’s 2017 biggest turnaround, appearing in seven matches during the club’s historic eight-match unbeaten streak. During the streak, Nanco notched his first professional assist at New York Red Bulls II and followed up with a goal in the home matchup against the rival.
August saw Nanco’s top performances as he battled against a pair of the club from his native Canada. On the road at Ottawa, Nanco delivered a laser for his third goal of the season. That goal not only helped Steel FC make USL history, it also was Steel FC’s 2017 Goal of the Year.
A week later, Toronto FC II when invaded Goodman Stadium, Nanco contributed an assist on Cory Burke’s second-half goal in the 58th minute while putting away the match with an insurance goal in stoppage time.
Nanco appeared in each of the club’s final 22 matches of the season and 28 games overall, starting 18. The winger played over 1,650 minutes scoring four goals and adding two assists. Those five goals finished fifth on the team along with his 20 shots which he placed 10 on target.