Photo courtesy of Bethlehem Steel FC
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The first in-state matchup between expansion Bethlehem Steel FC and the Pittsburgh Riverhounds went to the newest USL side as Corey Burke’s first-half tally and Leo Fernandes’ stoppage-time penalty kick led to a 2-0 Steel victory on Sunday at Goodman Stadium. This was the first of three meetings this season between the two Pennsylvania clubs. Bethlehem, fresh off of a five-game road trip, opened up a six-game home stand with much-needed win to improve to 5-6-6 (21 points) overall and 3-2-2 at home. The Riverhounds lost their fourth consecutive road match, falling to 0-5-3 away from Highmark Stadium this year. Pittsburgh is now 2-9-4 (10 points) overall.
24’ – BST – Corey Burke (Derrick Jones)
90’+ – BST – Leo Fernandes (penalty)
Three Things That Mattered:
1. Bethlehem was knocking on the door off-and-on for about a 10-minute stretch, and the host Steel finally broke through in the 24th minute with Corey Burke’s second goal of the season. After a collision in which Leo Fernandes went down for Bethlehem toward the top of the box, the ball popped up and Derrick Jones rose up to head the ball toward the right of the box in Burke’s direction. Burke raced toward the end line and from a difficult angle wrapped his right-footed shot past oncoming RIverhounds goalkeeper Hunter Gilstrap for a 1-0 Steel lead.
2. Fernandes was perhaps Bethlehem’s most consistent threats in the offensive third. He finally found the score sheet with a stoppage-time penalty kick. Earlier, he nearly doubled Bethlehem’s lead in the 73rd minute after settling a cross from James Chambers with his chest. Fernandes worked the ball toward the left of the box and fired on frame, but Gilstrap was up to the challenge with the save to keep his Riverhounds within striking distance.
3. Pittsburgh certainly had some moments to get on the score sheet, with captain Kevin Kerr involved in the majority of the closest opportunities. Kerr challenged Steel goalkeeper John McCarthy for the first time on the evening in the eighth minute as McCarthy made a big save with his right glove. The Riverhounds garnered a second chance on the rebound, but Zak Boggs’ attempt just missed the upper right corner as Bethlehem sustained some early pressure. Later in the 45th minute, the Hounds had an interesting set piece from the left side as Danny Earls initially charged as though he was going to deliver the ball in from the left. He backed off and pointed, simultaneously as Kerr whipped the ball into the edge of the six. McCarthy ran off his line, punched the ball in traffic and the Steel defense cleared as Bethlehem stayed focused during that bit of Riverhounds misdirection. In the second half, Kerr’s 58th-minute free kick again threatened the frame and McCarthy was well on top of that attempt for the save.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match:
Leo Fernandes, Bethlehem Steel FC – Fernandes’ penalty kick was the icing on the cake as he was active throughout the match in the offensive third.
Bethlehem Steel FC vs. Wilmington Hammerheads FC – July 14, 12 p.m. ET, Goodman Stadium
Pittsburgh Riverhounds vs. Richmond Kickers – July 14, 7 p.m. ET, Highmark Stadium