Photo Courtesy Bethlehem Steel FC
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Bethlehem Steel FC survived a second-half resurgence from the Pittsburgh Riverhounds to move into the USL Cup Playoffs places in the Eastern Conference with a 3-2 win at Goodman Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Bethlehem opened the scoring in the fifth minute after Santi Moar managed to suck in the Pittsburgh defense, allowing him to cut back for Adam Najem who placed it perfectly into the right corner of the net. Just three minutes later some great passing tore apart the Riverhounds again with Najem this time turning provider as he squared the ball for Cory Burke to run on to and tap home to double the lead. Burke made it three in the 37th minute as he received the ball and beat two defenders before shooting powerfully along the ground to find the net off the post. Pittsburgh responded perfectly with Corey Hertzog winning a penalty kick after he was held back as he made a run into the penalty area, and the Riverhounds' leading scorer went up the middle to pull a goal back. With a two-goal deficit the Riverhounds went on the attack in the second half. In the 64th minute the visitors pulled another goal back as Hertzog scored his second after Chevaughn Walsh stole possession and played Hertzog through for a one-on-one, with Hertzog sending the goalkeeper the opposite way with a well-placed finish. Nine minutes from time Bethlehem was inches away from adding an insurance goal as James Chambers' shot from distance bounced down off the crossbar, but the missed chance didn’t matter as Bethlehem held on for the win.
5’ – BST – Adam Najem (Santi Moar)
8’ – BST – Cory Burke (Adam Najem)
37’ – BST – Cory Burke (Jake McGuire)
40’ – PGH – Corey Hertzog (Penalty)
64’ – PGH – Corey Hertzog (Chevaughn Walsh)
Three Things That Matter:
1. Cory Burke continued his good form in recent weeks, having scored or recorded an assist in all of Bethlehem Steel FC's last four matches. That includes Burke being a thorn in the side of the Riverhounds' defense, scoring four goals against the Riverhounds in two matches during that run.
2. With Sunday's win, Steel FC has snapped its five-match winless run, which put the side under some pressure in its pursuit of the USL Cup Playoffs. Managing the win lifts Steel FC back into the playoff places with games in hand on its competitors for a spot, while denting the chances of the Riverhounds.
3. The Riverhounds are now on a four-game winless streak, with the slump coming at the worst possible time for the side. That run has seen Pittsburgh slip down to 11th in the USL Eastern Conference, now three points out of the playoff places, with just three matches to play.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Cory Burke, Bethlehem Steel FC – Scoring two impressive goals, Burke continued to be the picture of nightmares for the Riverhounds defense, scoring his third and fourth goals of the season against the Riverhounds.
Bethlehem Steel FC vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies – September 30, 7:30p.m. ET, Al Lang Stadium
Pittsburgh Riverhounds vs. New York Red Bulls II – September 30, 4p.m. ET, MSU Soccer Park