Photo courtesy Sideline Photos / Bethlehem Steel FC
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Bethlehem Steel FC and Louisville City FC each had chances late to grab victory, but were unable to take them as they played to a 0-0 draw on Sunday afternoon at Goodman Stadium. The scoreless draw was Bethlehem’s second in a row as the Steel’s defense became only the second to hold Louisville scoreless this season.
The Steel (2-2-2, 8pts) applied pressure early, and created a good opening in the fourth minute when the ball came to Walter Restrepo 20 yards from goal, but his shot deflected wide of the left post. With rain falling, Bethlehem’s next good chance arrived in the 17th minute when Fabian Herbers’ slipped pass found Ayuk in space on the left, but Louisville goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh came out quickly to narrow the angle and defuse the chance.
Louisville (4-1-2, 14pts) took longer to get into the game, but went close in the 27th minute when Andy Lubahn played Niall McCabe into the right channel in the penalty area, but the USL assist leader’s shot went wide of the near post. The visitors threatened again four minutes later off a corner from the right, as far post delivery by Paolo DelPiccolo was put on target by Sean Reynolds, but Steel goalkeeper John McCarthy made a good save to keep the game scoreless.
USL leading scorer Chandler Hoffman’s first good look on goal came soon after, as his low shot from 20 yards was comfortably saved by McCarthy. Hoffman also got a look with 10 minutes to go in the first half from a cross by Kadeem Dacres on the left that he headed wide of the near post.
Louisville almost grabbed the lead moments before the break when DelPiccolo slipped a pass into Hoffman, who lost his marker with a run into the right side of the penalty area, but McCabe’s shot was turned aside well by McCarthy for a corner.
McCarthy had to be sharp again early in the second half as McCabe tried to curl a finish four minutes after the break. Andy Lubahn also went close with a shot that went off the outside of the right post as the visitors continued to hold the upper hand, while Mark Anthony Kaye also hit the post with 14 minutes to go with a header from a cross by DelPiccolo.
Both sides tried to grab a late winner, as Louisville’s Kaye had a header comfortably saved by McCarthy, and Seku Conneh’s shot for Bethlehem was deflected by a defender and gathered by Ranjitsingh. The Steel’s Derrick Jones then had a golden opportunity in stoppage time, as a great cross by Restrepo from the right found him at the back post, but Jones wasn’t able to control his header as it went over the bar.
Louisville also got a chance to replicate its dramatic victory against Charlotte with the final kick of the game as it was awarded a free kick 30 yards from goal. Cameron Lancaster again stepped up, but his shot went just over the crossbar, and the game ended scoreless.
May 7: Bethlehem Steel FC at Orlando City B, 7:30 p.m. ET, Titan Soccer Complex
May 4: Louisville City FC at Toronto FC II, 7:30 p.m. ET, Ontario Soccer Centre
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
John McCarthy, Bethlehem Steel FC – The Steel’s goalkeeper was solid throughout, and made seven saves to earn a shutout, and give Bethlehem a valuable point against the Eastern Conference’s leaders.