ALLENTOWN, PA – The club’s first team (1-1-2, 5 points) travels to Pennsylvania for the second and final time during the 2019 regular season as they visit the Lehigh Valley United (2-2-0, 6 points) on Saturday evening, June 1st for a 7:00 p.m. kickoff from Cedar Crest College. The club will be playing their fifth game of the season and the front half of a back-to-back set, due to a lightning postponement against the Long Island Rough Riders on Tuesday evening. The United have taken two in a row against the Evergreen Hammers and Ocean City Nor’easters most recently on Wednesday evening.
ALL TIME SERIES:
The club’s first team leads the series 4-0-0 dating back to 2017. Since the divisional shakeup following the 2016 season, Lehigh Valley has not earned a point against the first team. The most recent contest against the pair of clubs included a two-nil shutout at Aviator Sports and Event Center on July 7, 2018. Former first-teamers in Sergei Bulatov and Dominique Marvens scored the pair of goals in the victory. This was the third and final victory for the first team on the humid July evening. The previous contest was also a two nil shutout victory for the first team as they notched their first victory of the season in their Cedar Crest College debut. Cheick Karembega and Adam Marcu were the pair of goal-scorers in the first outing.
SCOUTING THE UNITED:
The Lehigh Valley United are led by Lehigh University’s own Steven Bednarsky. The New Jersey native leads the way with a pair of goals through four games this season. Fifth year graduate student from Lehigh, Alexander Greene, has one goal and three shots through four. They are led up front by Shippensburg striker Cole Kropnick, who also has one goal on two shots this season. During the 2019 MLS Superdraft, former defender Franky Martinez was selected in the third round (69th overall to Kansas City Sporting SC).
LAST TIME OUT:
Debut’s for multiple first teamers included club veteran Adam Marcu, St. Francis Brooklyn’s Thriston Briscoe, and former 2000’s player Dylan Scanley. Returning from undisclosed injuries were Johan Mauritzson and Alexis Santa, while still missing defender Kalley Muntaha to a hamstring pull. Meanwhile, in West Lawn, a one-sided beginning for the defending then-PDL runners up from a season ago, had the opposition off and running on the scoreboard, as two shots and one save weren’t enough for the Gambian national goalkeeper in Jason Belfon, as he saw Alex McKinley’s one timer sail directly into the net. Following numerous possessions from each respective club, the first team gained a bit of momentum as an odd-man rush led to a cross from midfielder Alexis Santa to Thriston Briscoe, who just kicked the ball a couple of inches over the head of the opposing keeper, Waite. A few minutes later in the opposite direction, Reading’s Jeremy Rafanello sails one over the head of Belfon, as he launched one from just outside the box off the foot of defender John Sabal, Jr. Numerous chances on net for former NPSL’s Tampa Bay Rowdies star Karamba Janneh were gloved away by Waite. Fouls seemed to trouble the first team, as the second goal of the contest came off a free-kick from Reading’s Deniz Dogan, that was eventually tapped in with a header from Will Baynham. In the 34th minute of play, a steal by Briscoe at midfield caught Reading by surprise as the St. Francis Brooklyn product crossed the ball to Karamba Janneh on the odd-man rush, but was kicked inches to the right of the Reading keeper. A goal keeping change to begin the second half included the starter of the first three games in Bryant and Stratton’s Babucarr Ceesay, who surrendered one goal against the Ocean City Nor’easters a week ago. Subpar defensive play in front of the aforementioned Ceesay had him on his heels in the first 15 minutes of play that included two shots that fortunately sailed just high, ensured Ceesay of his one goal allowed streak to remain alive. The streak would come to an end just six minutes later (60’) as USL Top 100 “Players to Watch” secured the team’s third goal of the match to seal the first team’s fate at three nil. All seven substitutions were given playing time throughout the contest which included Johann Weatherly seeing time. 2000’s player Dylan Scanley made his debut in the 78’. Three-year veteran Robi Sillah also saw time as well for the first time since the Cedar Stars Rush contest. The first team suffered their first regulation loss of the 2019 season, but still remain in third place in the standings behind the Reading United AC, and the Long Island Rough Riders with five points.
The club’s first team returns for a rescheduled home contest on Sunday, June 2 for their sixth match of the 2019 USL League Two season as they host the Long Island Rough Riders for a 7:30 p.m. match. The contest will be broadcast live on the I-95 Sports and Entertainment Network, and can be viewed also on YouTube.com/FAEuro.