Matthews (N.C.) — Bethlehem Steel FC scored early and added two more goals in the second half to defeat the Independence by a score of 3-0. This was only the second USL loss at the Sportsplex at Matthews for the Independence this season.
"Tonight was unacceptable," said Independence Head Coach Mike Jeffries. "We certainly haven't been good this year after giving up the first goal and as the leader of the group I take responsibility for the guys' mentality and being ready."
Seven minutes into the game, James Chambers gave Bethlehem the lead after slamming home a rebound. The Independence responded well, controlling 64 percent of possession in the half while tallying ten shots. The best chance of the half came in the 14th minute when Kevan George forced Bethlehem goalkeeper Jake McGuire to make a save after getting on the end of a Jake Areman corner kick.
"We can't afford to be down 1-0 six minutes into the game and chase a team that lives off the counterattack," said Jeffries. "From that point on we weren't strong enough mentally to stick it out and fight. "
Bethlehem Steel FC increased their lead in the 74th minute when midfielder Omar Holness found the back of the net after the Independence was unable to clear the ball out of the box. With the Independence pushing numbers forward, Drew Skundrich added a third for Bethlehem in the 89th minute.
"I still believe in the group and I still believe we have a talented group of players," said Jeffries.
The Independence will have a week off before traveling to face second-place Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC on August, 18th at Highmark Stadium.
7': BST - James Chambers (Moumbagna)
74': BST - Omar Holness (Mbaizo)
89': BST - Drew Skundrich (Moar)
35': CLT – Kevan George (YC)
65': BST – Matthew Real (YC)
90': BST – Drew Skundrich (YC)
CLT - 17
CLT - 6
BST - 4
CLT - 59.9%
BST - 40.1%