October 16, 2018
By: Gwen Begley
It’s no secret that Bethlehem Steel FC played well at home this season. Eight of their 14 wins were earned at Goodman Stadium. During six of those contests, the team was able to score three or more goals. It’s fitting that the team would earn their second consecutive trip to the playoffs with a win in Bethlehem.
Steel FC welcomed the Tampa Bay Rowdies on Sunday afternoon where they would earn three points from a first half deciding goal from Michee Ngalina, his sixth of the season. With the win, Steel FC earned the sixth seed in the USL playoffs, the highest seed earned in club history. Their destination would depend upon New York Red Bulls II’s result in their finale against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.
Fifth-seeded New York was able to pull off a 2-0 win over the third-seeded Riverhounds, thus earning Steel FC a date with their in-state rivals. The two have met twice this season, with Pittsburgh taking their first meeting at Goodman Stadium with a 2-1 result. Chris Nanco was the lone goal scorer for Bethlehem in the 52nd minute, while midfielder Neco Brett tallied both of the steel city’s marks, the first in the 35th minute, while the second was conceded in the 79th.
Their second meeting turned out a bit worse for Bethlehem, losing 4-1 at Highmark Stadium, which is where they will be headed to start the USL Playoffs. Pittsburgh started scoring when Joe Greenspan found the back of the net in the 17th minute. While James Chambers evened up the bill in the 35th, Kenardo Forbes, Neco Brett and Jordan Dover put the game away for the Riverhounds.
Bethlehem Steel FC’s 2018 USL Cup Playoff run will open at Highmark Stadium against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds on Saturday, Oct. 20 at 7pm.