Photo courtesy Bethlehem Steel FC
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Bethlehem Steel FC was too clinical for the New York Red Bulls II, managing a comfortable 3-0 win at Goodman Stadium on Wednesday evening. Just 45 seconds into the match Bethlehem forward Cory Burke nearly had the opening goal as he took advantage of confusion in the box to get a shot away but could only find the crossbar. After the Red Bulls II dominated much of the possession in the first half, Steel FC stole the opening goal after midfielder Michee Ngalina was afforded too much space. The young Congolese player took advantage to score his first professional goal with a perfectly placed strike from the left side of the penalty area that picked out the right corner of the net, and became the youngest goalscorer in Steel FC history at 18 years and 40 days old. A goal down at halftime NYRB II Head Coach John Wolyniec made two changes to start the second half bringing on Niko de Vera and Brian White to try and turn the game around, but a counterattack saw the hosts double their lead as Burke was able to play through midfielder Fabian Herbers, allowing him to run past the stretched Red Bulls II defense and put his finish in off the post with a well-placed shot. The visitors thought they’d pulled a goal back in the 80th minute when Hassan Ndam had the ball in the back of the net only for the flag to be raised for offside. The match was sealed in stoppage time when Najem ran across the NYRB II defense and put home a goal to add to his assist to complete Bethlehem's third home win of the season.
37’ – BST – Michee Ngalina (Adam Najem)
63’ – BST – Fabian Herbers (Cory Burke)
90+4’ – BST – Adam Najem (Cory Burke)
Three Things That Matter:
1. Steel FC has had the measure of NYRB II in recent meetings between the two sides and extended its winning streak in the series between the clubs to three matches in a row. This win levels the all-time series at 3-3, making the second match between the two this season, on June 20th at Goodman Stadium, another important fixture.
2. Coming into this match with a seven-game unbeaten streak, the second-longest in the league, New York had every reason to be confident. But that statistic hid the road struggles the Red Bulls II had been going through as the club was still waiting for its first win of the season on the road. New York will have to wait for that, and hope to take advantage of three consecutive matches at home in the coming weeks.
3. While Steel FC has only secured three wins on the season, all three of those wins have come at home, as Bethlehem has been almost a completely different side at Goodman Stadium. Steel FC has won every game it has scored at least two goals in this season, and at home, Bethlehem seems to become a more open side.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match:
Adam Najem, Bethlehem Steel FC – A constant thorn in the side of the NYRB II defense all night, Najem got the assist on the opening goal before going on to create five chances and scoring the final goal of the game in stoppage time to cap his performance.
Bethlehem Steel FC vs. Indy Eleven – May 19, 8 p.m. ET, Lucas Oil Stadium
New York Red Bulls II vs. Indy Eleven – May 27, 1 p.m. ET, Red Bull Arena