Bethlehem Steel FC comes into the club’s second home match 2019 USL Championship following a loss to North Carolina FC last weekend. Despite the loss, Head Coach Brendan Burke was pleased with the performances of some of his younger players like Patrick Bohui, who became the youngest player all-time to appear in a match for Steel FC. He also knows that his squad had opportunities to win the match and believes that the upcoming game against Memphis 901 FC will provide no relief.
“To see Patrick [Bohui] come on at his age and fit in pretty well to the game was a really encouraging sign. I mentioned a couple other guys after the game, but I forgot to mention Patrick,” said Burke. “To be pushing the way that he is and at his age is just fantastic, with still a long, long way to go. I’m happy for all of those guys that were able to make their debut. That said, I do believe that [North] Carolina was a very beatable team so it’s disappointing to not be able to throw a little more at them on the day, but the reality is that we have to turn our focus to Memphis this weekend and who in a lot of ways I think could even be a stronger team in terms of personnel; a very dangerous game for us this weekend.”
The match against North Carolina FC lacked execution in the high-intensity and pressing style of play that worked so well in Steel FC’s win at Birmingham the week before. Brendan Burke mentioned that he doesn’t think the match was an accurate representation of his team. Steel FC gave three Philadelphia Union Academy players their first professional starts in the match, as well as asking midfielder Issa Rayyan to serve as a striker in the match. He had played as a right back in the club’s season-opening win against Birmingham. With the performance that his squad put in, Burke thinks it’s important for his squad to return to their strengths.
“I think reestablishing our style of play, because I think it was not an accurate representation of us over the weekend,” Burke explained. “I thought there were certain things that we did well, but it was not comprehensive and I was disappointed in the execution of our gameplan last weekend. We’ll get back to the drawing board and try to establish ourselves like we did in Birmingham in week one. It’s nothing to do with the score line either, I just felt like the game was disconnected.”
Memphis 901 FC comes into this match having allowed two goals in two matches, with one of the goals coming from a penalty kick. As a club, they limit their opponent’s chances and defend as far away from their goal as possible. Burke’s squad should be able to break down the Memphis defense if they return to their style of play.
“I think if we are successful in executing our own game plan again, having a forward-first mentality and getting in to the areas that we’ve identified in the field from early in preseason then I think we’ll be in good shape. Doing that is always harder than planning for it,” Burke stated when asked how to break down Memphis’ defense.
Bethlehem Steel FC’s next home match is Sunday, March 24 against Memphis 901 FC at 6:00 p.m. ET at Talen Energy Stadium. Tickets for this match are still available and can be found here.