MEMPHIS, Tennessee – Memphis 901 FC scored three goals in the first 30 minutes of the match and did not look back in a 5-0 drubbing of Bethlehem Steel FC Saturday night at AutoZone Park.
The five goals are a season high for 901 FC (9-14-7, 34 pts), and the club has now won five of its last six matches.
“I think it was a complete performance from start to finish,” 901 FC head coach Tim Mulqueen said. “Our goals came because defensively we were in good spots to turn them over. The guys executed well, we got into the passing lanes, and we turned them over. We were clinical in and around the goal.
“I’m really pleased with the performance, front to back. It was by far our most complete performance of the year.”
Elliot Collier opened the scoring in the 7th minute off an assist from Cam Lindley, and Marcus Epps found the back of the net in the 15th minute via a beautiful Liam Doyle dish.
Brandon Allen then had goals in the 29th and 36th minutes, increasing his team-high total to eight. He now has three two-goal outings on the year, and those eight goals are out of 19 total for 901 FC over its last 12 matches.
Memphis kept its foot on the gas after the halftime intermission, as Doyle put home a rebound in the 50th minute for the club’s fifth score of the night.
“We knew we could get after these guys offensively as long as we defended well and took care of the structure and tactics of our team,” Collier said. “I think we did that. We executed really well, and we took care of our chances really well. It was good to have another game with three goals early on, and then we put it away in the second half. We knew we had to come out in the second half and have the first goal, and we did that and then put the game away.”
Jeff Caldwell and the 901 FC defense held Bethlehem (8-16-6, 30 pts) scoreless on the night, giving Caldwell six clean sheets on the season and two in his last three outings.
“Everything you do is a first,” Doyle said regarding 901 FC’s expansion season. “You get your first win, first loss, first big loss, and first big win. I think the guys lost a lot of games by one goal (early in the season). We got some new players, freshened up, and got a new lease on life.”
At the conclusion of the match, Memphis remains in 12th place in the USL Championship Eastern Conference but is now only five points out of a playoff spot with four matches remaining in the regular season.
With a stretch of three home matches in eight days concluded, Memphis 901 FC hits the road next Saturday to face Indy Eleven at 6:00 p.m. (CT). Memphis’ last two remaining home matches in the regular season are on Saturday, Oct. 12 against Charlotte Independence and Saturday, Oct. 19 against Louisville City FC.
Memphis 901 FC Starting XI
1 (GK) Jeff Caldwell, 26 (D) Josh Morton, 32 (D) Liam Doyle, 8 (D) Marc Burch (c), 17 (M) Ewan Grandison, 27 (M) Cam Lindley, 6 (M) Dan Metzger, 30 (M) Marcus Epps, 10 (M) Adam Najem, 18 (F) Elliot Collier, 29 (F) Brandon Allen
Subs: 24 (GK) Scott Levene, 22 (D) Wes Charpie, 31 (M) Pierra Da Silva, 15 (D) Jacob Hauser-Ramsey, 11 (F) Lagos Kunga, 21 (F) Duane Muckette, 23 (M) Leston Paul
Substitutions: 57’ Lagos Kunga on, Marcus Epps off… 61’ Duane Muckette on, Elliot Collier off… 70’ Leston Paul on, Cam Lindley off.
Bethlehem Steel FC Starting XI
49 (GK) Todd Morton, 47 (D) Walter Cortes, 44 (D) Ben Ofeimu, 60 (D) Nathan Harriel, 40 (D) Issa Rayyan, 39 (M) Chavany Willis, 45 (M) James Chambers (c), 51 (M) Cole Turner, 59 (M) Axel Picazo, 35 (F) Faris Pemi Moumbagna, 20 (F) Michee Ngalina
Subs: 53 (GK) Ben Martino, 36 (F) Saed Diaz, 38 (M) Zach Zandi, 41 (F) Yomi Scintu, 63 (F) Shanyder Borgelin
Substitutions: 61’ Shanyder Borgelin on, Issa Rayyan off… 62’ Zach Zandi on, Chavany Willis off… 72’ Saed Diaz on, Faris Pemi Moumbagna off