Lehigh’s Luchini Scores, Bethlehem Steel FC Blowout Syracuse

Photo Courtesy Bethlehem Steel FC/USL

Photo Courtesy Bethlehem Steel FC Twitter Feed

der Fussballzuschauer



Perhaps a rather fitting end to the first officially scheduled exhibition ever played by the United Soccer League club that will stage its home matches at Goodman Stadium as Lehigh University product Jamie Luchini nets the final goal during Bethlehem Steel FC’s lopsided 5-0 victory over visiting Syracuse University in the pre-season contest held on Sunday at the Philadelphia Union’s training complex down in Chester, Pennsylvania.

According to the report coming across twitter, a Bethlehem Steel FC side featuring three players currently on the Major League Soccer roster of the Philadelphia Union needed less than sixty seconds to find the back of the net against their collegiate opposition. Recent BSFC signing Cory Burke, the 24-year-old striker who has been the second-most prolific marksmen in the Jamaican first division these past two seasons with a combined 23 goals for Rivoli United FC, opened his scoring account on his competitive debut here in the United States. From the line-up presented by the official website of BSFC, it appears as if Burke had a withdrawn role as the central attacking midfielder in the team’s 4-2-3-1 formation (which, of course, is the exact same formation that the parent Philadelphia Union, themselves, have been using thus far this winter).
Via the official twitter account of BSFC came the report of a second strike from the home side less than ten minutes later as trialist Mohammad Diallo, the player apparently occupying the lone striker position up top, tallied his first goal for the new USL expansion club. So, just exactly WHO is this Diallo guy? Well, we’ll get to that shortly.
Bethlehem Steel FC added a third from the spot shortly before the halftime whistle after Eric Ayuk, the 19-year-old Cameroonian winger who was one of three MLS players turning out for the Philadelphia Union’s reserve team on Sunday, was brought down in the box. Ayuk made 28 MLS appearances and started 14 games while notching two goals and two assists as a rookie winger for the Union last season but might have difficulty finding a place this term now that Philadelphia have brought in quality new players such as Brazil international Ilsinho and American veteran Chris Pontius and Leo Fernandes has returned from a season-long loan to the second division New York Cosmos. Ayuk, who did not play in any of the Philadelphia Union’s final four exhibition contests down in Florida this winter, made just one appearance in the United Soccer League for the Harrisburg City Islanders last season but could be getting a lot more games in the USL for a fledgling BSFC side this term.
Mawolo “Gabe” Gisse, the 19-year-old winger from Liberia who is a youth team product of MLS club New England Revolution, converted BSFC’s penalty kick flawlessly after Ayuk was fouled. Gisse has spent the last two seasons turning out in the USL for Sacramento Republic FC, for whom he made a combined 27 appearances (almost all as a substitute), scoring one goal and adding two assists. Gisse also netted a pair of goals, including one from the spot, during Bethlehem Steel FC’s 5-1 training game win over fourth division club Junior Lone Star last week, of course.
The unknown central striker Diallo is said to have scored a “brilliant” goal, his second of the contest, a little past the hour … which, again, brings up the most critical question of the day – who IS this dude?
The one “Mohammed Diallo” that I am semi-familiar with would be the former Ivory Coast national team midfielder who made his name with Belgian club KSK Beveren and later played in Switzerland with FC Sion as well as FC Chiasso. But that guy last appeared during the 2010/11 season for French third division side EFC Freus Saint Raphaels and is now 32 years old, anyway. So that’s that.
A little research has turned up one “Mohamed Diallo”, a very soon to be 20-year-old central striker who was on the Mali squad that finished in third place at the FIFA U-20 World Cup final tournament this past summer, but this guy is supposed to be under contract to Moroccan second division club Union Sidi Kacem … so we’ll have to wait and see just exactly who this is that the new United Soccer League club have on trial here.
Jamie Luchini (# 19) in action for Lehigh University ... (photo courtesy player's twitter account)

Jamie Luchini (# 19) in action for Lehigh University … (photo courtesy player’s twitter account)


There is absolutely no mystery whatsoever concerning the identity of the player who accounted for Bethlehem Steel FC’s fifth and final goal in the training game against Syracuse on Sunday. The 21-year-old Luchini scored 10 goals in 22 games as a senior for Lehigh in 2015 and was later invited to participate at the Major League Soccer combine ahead of the annual Superdraft. Ultimately, the graduate of North Allegheny High School in western Pennsylvania who totaled 18 goals and 17 assists in 68 career NCAA games for the Mountain Hawks was not among the 76 collegiate players chosen at this year’s 2016 MLS Superdraft.
Luchini is only “on trial” with Bethlehem Steel FC at the moment, however, another goal or two in pre-season could very well land the Lehigh University product a United Soccer League contract – and help put people in the seats at Goodman Stadium this season, as well.
Bethlehem Steel FC line-up  vs Syracuse University :
Badr – Washington (Real), Daly (Trusty), Yaro (MacKenzie), Richter – Akinyode, Chambers (Conte) – Gisse (Luchini), Burke (Brown), Ayuk – Diallo (Heard)
goals : Burke, Diallo, Gisse, Diallo, Luchini
Joseph Yaro, the undersized centerback from Georgetown University who was the second overall player chosen in the first round of the 2016 MLS SuperDraft, and Taylor Washington, the left back from George Mason University who was the Philadelphia Union’s fourth overall selection (2nd round, # 23 overall) at the 2016 MLS SuperDraft, were the other two players with an existing MLS contract in the line-up for Bethlehem Steel FC on Sunday. The pair of rookies each appeared in four of the Union’s six exhibition games down in Florida this winter but were obviously surplus to requirements for Philadelphia’s MLS season opener against FC Dallas. Both Yaro and Washington could very well be making a few more appearances with BSFC this coming spring, too.
Mickey Daly, the seasoned 28-year-old centerback who was a 2nd Team USL all-star in 2015 and a league champion in 2014 for Sacramento Republic FC, and Ryan Richter, the 26-year-old right back from La Salle University who was the 1st round pick (# 5 overall) of the Philadelphia Union at the 2011 MLS Supplemental Draft and later appeared in 13 MLS games (12 starts) for Toronto FC during the 2013 season, once again featured on the back line for Bethlehem Steel FC.
Bolu Akinyode, the 21-year-old defensive midfielder from Seton Hall University who was in pre-season training camp with the Philadelphia first team squad this winter, finally made his formal debut for Bethlehem Steel FC against Syracuse University but the other BSFC midfielder who also appeared with the Union down in Florida, 19-year-old Derrick Jones, did not play against the Orangemen. Somewhat conspicuous by his absence on Sunday was Seku Conneh, the 20-year-old Liberian striker who spent the past two seasons honing his skills in the Dutch second division with Fortuna Sittard and FC Oss. On the other hand, BSFC head coach Brendan Burke and the rest of his technical staff do need to use training games to evaluate a wide range of prospective players.
James Chambers, the former Republic of Ireland U-21 international who was signed from Irish first division side St. Patrick’s Athletic FC by Bethlehem Steel FC at the end of January, had been used as the central midfielder in what can loosely be described as the 4-3-3 formation that BSFC used at the start of the Junior Lone Star game but was deployed as one of two defensive midfielders in the match against Syracuse University before being spelled by Academy (read, youth team) player Lamine Conte.
Samir Badr, the already fairly well-traveled 23-year-old goalkeeper who was once on the youth team books of perennial Portuguese powerhouse FC Porto before an ill-fated loan spell with Egyptian first division club Haras El-Hadood SC, started his second consecutive training game in goal for Bethlehem Steel FC but had little to do versus Syracuse.

Categories: Bethlehem Steel FC

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