Bethlehem Steel FC 1 – 1 FC Cincinnati: Albadawi Steals Back A Point

Graphic: Connor Paquette / Image: Charlotte Muscroft/Bethlehem Steel FC

FC Cincinnati visited Goodman Stadium this week to take on Bethlehem Steel FC, hoping to reverse recent momentum. While FCC won the home match last year against the Philadelphia Union’s USL affiliate, they lost both away matches and failed to score in either. This year’s result was a positive one, as the Boys in Orange & Blue return with a 1-1 tie.

Much like the past two away games, FC Cincinnati came out of the barn hot and reaching for the first strike. Crosses from Justin Hoyte and Matt Bahner were finding marks, but forward Emery Welshman was constantly wedged between defenders.

Despite the pressure, Bethlehem flipped the field early and capitalized off of a scattering FCC defensive line. In the 15th minute, a skidding cross from midfielder Anthony Fontana caught the boot of forward Cory Burke, who deflected a looping shot over Evan Newton for the early goal.

For the rest of the half, FCC found themselves playing prevent defense to avoid a second goal. Midfielder Santi Moar started to dictate play to the right of Newton, pulling the back line into the box and freeing up Anthony Fontana for a shot that caromed off the post in the 35th minute. FC Cincinnati managed to win the possession battle (52/48) after 45 minutes but only took seven shots against Bethlehem’s ten. The second half managed to finally swing FC Cincinnati’s way as Bethlehem lost steam due to two early subs. After some heightened physical play in the second half, FCC managed to capture offensive possession and pressure, but shots were still missing the target. Manu Ledesma had a few looks on goal in the box in both halves, only for the shots to sail high.

 

The constant pressure finally paid off in the 71st minute. Hoyte’s cross from the right was deflected by Welshman in the box, and Nazmi Albadawi scooped up the pass to beat the goalkeeper to knot the game 1-1. Albadawi was playing his first game of the season in place of Kenney Walker, who is still out from a concussion injury sustained against Indy Eleven.

Despite some late challenges from both sides and a late cracker from Corben Bone that sailed wide, neither team was able to muster much else against the wind, splitting the points in the end.

Key Events

15’ – GOAL – BST – Cory Burke (assisted by Anthony Fontana)
66’ – YELLOW CARD – BST – Prosper Chiluya
71’ – GOAL – CIN – Nazmi Albadawi (assisted by Emery Welshman)
83’ – YELLOW CARD – BST – Cory Burke

Match Notes

The draw leaves FC Cincinnati in 7th place with seven points, while Bethlehem is currently in 10th with five. The two teams will play each other again on Wednesday, June 13th at Nippert Stadium.

FCC started a 4-2-3-1 formation that was similar to the previous three, but Walker’s injury opened the door for changes to the overall Starting XI. Albadawi was started as the central attacking midfielder, while Bone was pulled back to play alongside Richie Ryan. Daniel Haber and Bahner also saw their first starts of the season, but both were subbed out later.

Starting XI 
Welshman (76’ Konig)
Haber (80’ McLaughlin) – Albadawi – Ledesma
Ryan – Bone
Hoyte – Lasso – Keinan – Bahner (63’ Laing)
Newton

FC Cincinnati gave up its first away goal of the season, but the draw also gives FCC their best four-game start in club history. The team was 2-2-0 with six points at this point both in 2016 and 2017. However, they also had scored six goals in four games both years. Albadawi’s goal was only the team’s third so far.

What’s Next?

FC Cincinnati (2-1-1) returns home for their big “Orange Out” match against Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC on Saturday. Last year, FCC managed to win once and tie once against Pittsburgh, but the Riverhounds are a different team this year, having yet to give up a goal. Bethlehem (1-2-2) gets a week break before they head to Louisville City FC on April 28th.

Stay tuned as Orange & Blue Press provides a deeper analysis into today’s match and gives more insight into what could be a pivotal week for the future of the club.

Author: Geoffrey Tebbetts

Contributor for the Orange & Blue Press for FC Cincinnati coverage.

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