With the opportunity to clinch a playoff berth, Louisville City FC was forced to rally twice to draw 2-2 to the Bethlehem Steel at Slugger Field in their first Friday game of the season.
Kyle Smith equalized from the penalty spot ten minutes into the second half, and Oscar Jimenez curled a free kick from 25 yards in the 75th minute level the game at 2-2. The Steel were reeling but held off late pressure by the boys in purple to secure a key point on the road.
Both teams came out aggressive, chasing balls down, but the game remained relatively quiet for the first ten minutes. The Steel took the lead in the 21st minute when Louisville goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh completely missed the ball and brought down Santi Moar in the box. Cory Burke stepped up placed the spot kick to the left post.
The referee point to the spot again in the 53rd minute, this time in favor of City after two Bethlehem defenders mauled Luke Spencer in the box. Smith stepped up and sent a powerful shot to the left post to score his second goal in as many games. The Cincinnati native would have the opportunity to bag a double five minutes later but sent his left-footed shot just wide of the left post.
Moar pounced on a rebound shot to give the visitors a 2-1 lead in the 61st minute. Burke fired a shot at the top of the box that forced Ranjitsingh to save. He was unable to properly handle the shot, which allowed Moar to simply tap the ball into the back of the net.
Jimenez would put the hosts level with a superb free-kick from the top of the box.
With momentum on their side, Louisville sent everyone forward in search of a winner. Second half substitutions Richard Ballard and Brian Ownby provided a much-needed spark to the offense, but Bethlehem held firm to escape with a point.
City returns to Slugger Field Wednesday, Sept. 20 for their final home game of the month taking on the Rochester Rhinos. The game against the 2015 USL Champions is slated to begin at 7:30