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Steel Held by Riverhounds, Drop Out of Playoff Race

By NICHOLAS MURRAY - nicholas.murray@uslsoccer.com, 09/18/16, 5:14PM EDT

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Chambers’ second-half goal not enough in 1-1 draw at Goodman Stadium


Photo courtesy Sideline Photos / Bethlehem Steel FC

BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Bethlehem Steel FC rallied from an early deficit against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, but a 1-1 draw on Sunday afternoon at Goodman Stadium saw the side eliminated from playoff contention. The Riverhounds took the lead in the ninth minute when a bad defensive giveaway led to a penalty kick for Pittsburgh, and Corey Hertzog put the chance away for his 13th goal of the season. The Steel almost responded immediately, but Corey Burke’s initial shot was saved well by Riverhounds goalkeeper Zack Steffen, before the Jamaican forward sent the rebound wide. Burke went close again a minute before halftime, only for his header to go just wide of the right post, while the Riverhounds almost added to their lead moments later when Drew Russell’s header was turned over the crossbar by Steel goalkeeper Matt Jones. The Steel got on level terms midway through the second half as Burke surged into the left side of the penalty area and cut back a cross that was chested home by James Chambers. The Riverhounds almost regained the lead with 15 minutes to go, but a goal-line clearance by the Steel’s Ryan Richter from Hertzog’s lobbed finish denied the visitors, and Hertzog had another chance flash wide five minutes later as the Hounds looked to strike on the counter-attack. Hertzog should have put the game to rest in stoppage time as Jones made a good save when the Riverhounds forward was put in one-on-one, but the Steel were unable to find a decisive finish late to see their playoff hopes come to an end.

Scoring: 
9’ – PGH – Corey Hertzog (PK)
68’ – BST – James Chambers (Corey Burke)

Three Things That Matter:

  • 1. The Steel had a glimmer of hope of reaching the playoffs going into their penultimate game of the season, but disappointing play in the final third saw the side eliminated from playoff contention as the control they held over much of the game wasn’t converted into goals. Corey Burke could have leveled the score on a pair of occasions before he set up James Chambers’ second-half tally, but Sunday’s game summed up the club’s inaugural season, as potential didn’t turn into results when it mattered most.
  • 2. The Riverhounds’ season has been a disappointing one, but Corey Hertzog’s performance leading the line in the second half of the year has been a major plus as the club looks to regroup for the 2017 season. A Pennsylvania native, Hertzog scored his 13th goal of the season from the penalty spot in the first half, and was unlucky not to add another in the second half as Ryan Richter’s goal-line clearance with Zack Steffen stranded kept the Riverhounds from the chance at victory. Hertzog has the potential to be better, as the late chance he squandered showed, but there is something to build on here for Pittsburgh with both he and Chevaughn Walsh potentially returning next season.
  • 3. Sunday’s draw eliminated the Steel from playoff contention this season, and it now falls to Bethlehem to potentially play spoiler when Orlando City B visits Goodman Stadium for the final game of the season next Sunday. OCB could already be into the playoffs, should Wilmington have failed to take victory against Richmond on Saturday night, but it will be a good test of the Steel’s mettle if there is something on the line for its visitors as it gets the chance to play spoiler.

USLSoccer.com Man of the Match

Zack Steffen, Pittsburgh Riverhounds – Steffen came up with big saves as the Riverhounds took a point on the road from their penultimate game of the season, and eliminated the Steel from playoff contention.

Upcoming Games:

Bethlehem Steel FC vs. Orlando City B – Sept. 25, 3 p.m. ET, Goodman Stadium

Pittsburgh Riverhounds vs. FC Cincinnati – Sept. 24, 7 p.m. ET, Highmark Stadium

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