Photo courtesy of Bethlehem Steel FC
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Ottawa Fury FC, which recently gained attention with its Canadian Championship run to the semifinals, had to dig deep to find its attack on Sunday. The club found enough in the second half as Michael Salazar’s header helped Ottawa earn a 1-1 draw against Bethlehem Steel FC in the first meeting between the two sides at Goodman Stadium. Ottawa extended its unbeaten streak to three (2-0-1), moving to 3-3-4 (13 points) overall and 2-2-2 on the road. Bethlehem’s Seku Conneh set a club single-season scoring record with his first-half tally. Bethlehem moves to 4-6-1 (13 points) overall and 3-3-1 at home.
28’ – BST – Seku Conneh (Ken Tribbett)
70’ – OTT – Michael Salazar (Ryan Williams)
#BSTvOTT: Full match and Opta box score
Three Things That Mattered:
1. With his 28th-minute strike, Seku Conneh set a single-season record with his sixth of the season. Ken Tribbett laid the ball off to his right for Conneh and from nearly 30 yards out, took a thunderous shot that snuck inside the right post past Ottawa goalkeeper Callum Irving for a 1-0 lead. Bethlehem could have had much more to show for its first-half efforts after more than 70 percent of the possession and a penalty kick chance. In the opening minutes, Fury FC’s Andrae Campbell was called for a handball and Cory Burke took the subsequent PK. Irving as all over Burke’s right-footed strike, diving to his left for the save in the third minute.
2. Ottawa’s attack was nowhere close to the level that put up a combined nine goals in the previous two regular-season games. Fury FC certainly looked fatigued just by the sheer volume of matches after advancing to the semifinals of the Canadian Championship, eventually eliminated by Major League Soccer’s Toronto FC this past week. Ottawa also was without midfielder Lance Rozeboom who is dealing with a knee injury. Fury FC did create several corner kick and free kick opportunities, but Ottawa did not generate a threatening chance in most situations. With 20 minutes remaining, Fury FC mustered a good run as second-half sub Ryan Williams crossed from the right and connected with an unmarked Michael Salazar. Salazar ran in between the Steel FC defense and headed home the equalizer in the 70th minute.
3. Philadelphia Union center back Josh Yaro, on loan with Steel FC, saw his first competitive action of the year. The 22-year-old Yaro suffered a torn labrum during the Union’s preseason, and on Sunday the No. 2 overall selection of the 2016 MLS SuperDraft finally had the clearance to gain some game minutes. Yaro looked comfortable out there, switching the field, shielding the ball from Ottawa’s attack and also working his way up front on occasion for set-piece chances. Yaro made four appearances with Bethlehem during the 2016 campaign.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match:
Ken Tribbett, Bethlehem Steel FC – Tribbett had a well-rounded match that included an assist on Seku Conneh’s goal, several tackles, a plus-80 percent passing rate and a near tally in the 81st minute that required an alert Callum Irving save.
Bethlehem Steel FC at Saint Louis FC – June 11, 5 p.m. ET, Toyota Stadium – Saint Louis
Ottawa Fury FC vs. Harrisburg City Islanders – June 10, 7 p.m. ET, TD Place Stadium