A well-worked one-two at the edge of the area that was finished off with aplomb shortly after the hour had passed provided a fitting enough ending for a closely contested intra-state derby as the underdog Pittsburgh Riverhounds downed visiting Bethlehem Steel FC 2-1 in always exciting United Soccer League action on Saturday evening.
Bethlehem Steel FC, whose winless stretch during this ‘playoff push’ has now reached five consecutive matches, fielded no less than five players under Major League Soccer contract to the Philadelphia Union in its starting line-up, including the recently signed and newly-turned 18-year-old centerback Auston Trusty. The Pittsburgh Riverhounds, for their part, featured two MLS players on loan from the Columbus Crew, the recently signed goalkeeper Zack Steffen and Costa Rica international striker Alejandro Aguilar in their first team. What’s more, the Riverhounds also brought three more players under MLS contract to Columbus off the bench as second half substitutes including the attacking pair of Panama international winger Cristian Martinez and Guatemala international striker Rodrigo Saravia — this was in sharp contrast to the USL match between BSFC and Pittsburgh back at Lehigh University’s Goodman Stadium played a month ago in which the Riverhounds sent out just one MLS player on loan and a defender at that.
Not quite sure why Seku Conneh, the 20-year-old Liberia international striker who has made 16 USL appearances and scored two goals for Bethlehem Steel FC this season, did not even make the trip to Pittsburgh – perhaps the former Dutch second division player is injured.
Not quite sure what all the fuss was about a few weeks ago when the Philadelphia Union passed on the opportunity to add the German soccer reject Steffen to the roster of its new United Soccer League reserve team. That goal conceded to Bethlehem Steel FC’s Jamaica international striker Corey Burke in the 28th minute was a rather soft one, indeed — relatively sharp-angle shot from over on the goalkeeper’s right hand side, beaten to the near post; perhaps out of match practice, Steffen appeared to just flap at the ball as it flew past. People who take the time to watch the footage of BSFC’s goal against Pittsburgh on YouTube will soon realize exactly why the former of University of Maryland goalkeeper never made more than fourteen appearances in the Regionalliga Suedwest (fourth division) in a season and a half before being deemed expendable by reserve team side SC Freiburg II.
Man of the Match honors must go to Corey Hertzog, the former Penn State Nittany Lions’ Torjaeger with a dozen Major League Soccer appearances for New York Red Bulls and Vancouver Whitecaps FC under his belt who scored the Pittsburgh Riverhounds’ opening goal against Bethlehem Steel FC on Saturday evening and assisted on the game-winner, as well.
As far as the playoff picture in the United Soccer League’s Eastern Conference goes, Bethlehem Steel FC are still not dead yet but they have been downgraded from critical condition and are, in fact, on life support at present.
Bethlehem Steel FC centerback Auston Trusty (# 48), the Philadelphia Union Academy graduate who will not be playing collegiate soccer for the University of North Carolina Tar Heels after all, can do nothing but observe as Pittsburgh Riverhounds winger Kevin Kerr (# 10) slots past BSFC netminder Samir Badr to net the game-winning goal in the United Soccer League match at picturesque Highmark Stadium on the banks of the Monongahela River.
Pittsburgh Riverhounds 2:1 Bethlehem Steel FC
August 13, 2016
Highmark Stadium – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Attendance – not reported
Bethlehem Steel FC : Badr – Washington (Brown 78), Trusty, Anderson, Richter – Akinyode, Chambers – Heard (Luchini 65), Fernandes (Gissie 87), Ayuk – Burke (McMaster 79)
unused subs : (no backup goalkeeper) – Bibbs, Fontana
Pittsburgh Riverhounds : Steffen – Hunt, Adeleye (Hollingsworth 58), Campbell, Green – Earls, Okai (Boggs 78) – Kerr, Hertzog, Moloto (Martinez 46) – Aguilar (Thompson 46, Savaria 65)
goals : Hertzog 18, Burke 28, Kerr 62
Pittsburgh Riverhounds vs Bethlehem Steel FC
Attempts At Goal chart
12th min …. BSFC – Heard shot over
18th min …. PITT – Hertzog GOAL
22nd min … PITT – Hertzog shot saved
28th min …. BSFC – Fernandes shot blocked
28th min …. BSFC – Burke GOAL
34th min …. PITT – Aguilar header wide
40th min …. PITT – Aguilar shot saved
42nd min …. BSFC – Chambers shot saved
44th min ….. BSFC – Fernandes shot saved
45th min ….. PITT – Moloto shot saved
47th min ….. PITT – Hertzog shot over
59th min ….. BSFC – Burke header over
61st min …… BSFC – Akinyode shot saved
62nd min …. PITT – Kerr GOAL
75th min ….. BSFC – Richter shot blocked
81st min …… PITT – Boggs shot saved
86th min ….. PITT – Saravia shot saved
88th min ….. PITT – Martinez shot saved
89th min ….. BSFC – Luchini shot saved
95th min ….. BSFC – Brown shot wide
96th min ….. PITT – Saravia shot wide