Bethlehem Steel FC clawed their way back from a two-goal deficit to draw with Louisville City FC in a game that featured three red cards and a Chavany Willis brace in the first of two Sunday contests. Elsewhere, the Tacoma Defiance and Fresno FC produced a dramatic six-goal draw the saw the Defiance score a late equalizer to secure their point.
TACOMA, WA – The Tacoma Defiance refused to be beaten with an equalizer from substitute Justin Dhillon in the 90th minute capping off a wild contest at Cheney Stadium. The visitors scored the lone goal in the first half forward Qudus Lawal scored in his fourth straight game, eventually turning in a headed pass across goal following a free kick from a wide position. The Defiance responded with their first goal after 48 minutes, a deflected own goal by Fresno defender Michael Daly following an effort from defender Nick Hinds doing the job. Four minutes later, Tacoma took the lead when midfielder Shandon Hopeau took a pass from captain Samuel Rogers to the edge of the 18-yard box where he hit a shot that also took a slight deflection but pinged off the post and in. Answering almost immediately, though, Fresno scored their second goal of the evening after defender Diego Casillas pounced on a Tacoma defender in position and found midfielder Arun Basuljevic near goal, who roofed his effort past Defiance goalkeeper Trey Muse. The Foxes looked in good shape after 81 minutes when forward Jamie Chávez scored Fresno’s third goal after Muse failed to clear his lines in time and saw substitute Christian Chaney block his clearance leaving Chávez to convert from close range. However, Tacoma had one more push in them and converted the tying goal in the 90th minute when substitute Justin Dhillon took a Jesse Daley pass and poked the ball past Foxes goalkeeper C.J. Cochran to earn a point at the death.
USL Championship Man of the Match
Arun Basuljevic, Fresno FC – Basuljevic chipped in a goal and created three chances while also completing nearly 87 percent of his passes as Fresno extended their unbeaten run to three games.
CHESTER, PA – Bethlehem Steel FC bounced back from last week’s loss against Ottawa by showing resolve to earn a 2-2 draw against reigning champions Louisville City FC at Talen Energy Stadium. After the sides traded chances in the opening 20 minutes, Louisville forward Luke Spencer put his team in front when he pushed a shot past Steel FC goalkeeper Tomas Romero following a failed clearance by the Bethlehem defence. In the 37th minute, two red cards were handed out to Bethlehem’s Faris Pemi Moumbagna and Louisville’s Napo Matsoso after a coming together on the touchline that left both teams with ten men for the duration of the match. Just seconds following the halftime interval, though, Louisville took control of the game when midfielder George Davis IV skipped to the endline from out wide and drilled a cross for forward Lucky Mkosana to head past Romero for the game’s second. However, defender Paco Craig brought down forward Michee Ngalina in the area resulting in a penalty for Steel FC that midfielder Chavany Willis slotted past Louisville goalkeeper Ben Lundt to pull one back after 51 minutes. Six minutes later, Willis leveled the scoring with a powerful effort from just outside the 18-yard box following a corner kick, adding another spark to Steel FC’s comeback. Both teams would have good looks on goal in the remaining 30-plus minutes, but the match would ultimately end level with hosts going down to nine men with defender Benjamin Ofeimu was booked twice in the span in three minutes and Louisville also down to nine on the field due to a late injury. The result leaves Steel FC winless in their last six in total.
USL Championship Man of the Match
Chavany Willis, Bethlehem Steel FC – Willis scored Steel FC’s two goals and won five of his seven duels in helping the hosts out of a two-goal deficit in the second half.