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Steel FC Ends Deadlocked with OCB

By NICHOLAS MURRAY - nicholas.murray@uslsoccer.com, 08/31/17, 9:34PM EDT

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Epps scores with four minutes to go to earn 1-1 draw


Photo courtesy Mark Thor / Orlando City SC

ORLANDO, Fla. – Marcus Epps scored with four minutes to go as Bethlehem Steel FC earned a 1-1 draw with Orlando City B on Thursday night at Orlando City Stadium, as OCB extended its club-record undefeated streak to 12 games. Bethlehem had the first big chance of the game in the 20th minute as a slipped pass put in Epps on the right side of the penalty area, but the rookie skied his shot over the crossbar. OCB’s Fernando Timbo went close with a low drive that went just wide of the left post 11 minutes later, while Steel FC’s Cory Burke almost struck early in the second half as he wove into the left side of the penalty before shooting wide of the near post. OCB’s Pierre Da Silva narrowly missed in the 64th minute as his roulette to go past a defender gave him space, but his right-footed shot to the bottom-right corner just curled wide. Da Silva made no mistake with 15 minutes to go, however, as he fired home a finish from 15 yards off a layoff by Albert Dikwa into the left side of the penalty area that caromed off the inside of the left post and in. Steel FC replied with four minutes to go, however, as Epps made up for his early miss with an excellent curling finish into the top-right corner of the net from just inside the penalty area.

Scoring:
75’ – ORL – Pierre Da Silva (Albert Dikwa)
86’ – BST – Marcus Epps (Cory Burke)

Three Things That Matter:

  • 1. In a game as understandably tense as Wednesday night’s, with both teams battling to bolster their playoff credentials, it took an excellent finish to break the deadlock on one of the few chances either side created. U.S. U20 international Pierre Da Silva – this year’s No. 1 selection in the USL 20 Under 20 – was the one to provide it, as he first played in Albert Dikwa into the left side of the penalty area, and then made the right run into space to arrive for the return pass that he rifled home. With seven assists this season, Da Silva has been the playmaker for OCB, but on Wednesday night he proved a game-changer in a different way.

  • 2. Orlando’s undefeated streak is now at 12 games, but the side will be disappointed to have conceded late after limiting Bethlehem to only one shot on goal before Marcus Epps’ equalizer with found minutes to go. OCB would have moved level on points with both the fourth-place Tampa Bay Rowdies and fifth-place Rochester Rhinos with a win, putting pressure on both as the regular season comes down the stretch. Instead it was forced to settle for its eighth draw at home this season.

  • 3. Bethlehem’s night was on the verge of being a frustrating one, with the visitors carrying more of the play and looking more dangerous before Orlando opened the scoring. On the verge of falling to a fourth consecutive defeat, however, Steel FC found a goal and earned a point it probably deserved through Marcus Epps’ great curling finish. Guilty of a glaring miss in the first half when he was played in by an excellent slipped pass by Cory Burke, Epps gave OCB goalkeeper Jake Fenlason little chance. Given the team’s current position, a win would certainly have been better on the night, but coming away with something should give Steel FC a boost as it returns home for another big game against the Tampa Bay Rowdies in a little over a week.

USLSoccer.com Man of the Match

Marcus Epps, Bethlehem Steel FC – Epps notched an excellent equalizer to salvage a point for Steel FC, and also created two scoring chances for the visitors on the night.

Upcoming Games:
Orlando City B
vs. Richmond Kickers – September 7, 7:30 p.m. ET, Orlando City Stadium
Bethlehem Steel FC vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies – September 9, 3 p.m. ET, Goodman Stadium

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