Coming off a bye week that saw the club stay ready with a couple of scrimmages, Bethlehem Steel FC travels to face expansion-side and DC United affiliate Loudoun United FC this Friday, May 3. Kick off from Audi Field is set for 7:30 p.m. with the match broadcast on ESPN+. DC and the Union have played some heated rivalry matches in recent years and this will be the first edition of what could become a long-running series between the MLS sides’ USL Championship affiliates.
Defense – Loudoun has only conceded seven goals so far this year. Although they haven’t been able to keep up on the attack, their defense has proven to be an issue for some opposing teams. In the matchup against the Steel’s attack (12 goals scored in 2019), one side will have to give ground.
Schedule – Although playing its first home match at Audi Field, Loudoun United won’t get much more help from parent club D.C. United this weekend. Friday’s Loudoun lineup is sure to be light on first team support, as D.C. gets ready to host MLS’ Columbus Crew SC the following night and will need the bulk of its 23-man roster on deck. This gives Steel FC an opportunity to take control on a great playing surface.
Players to watch
Donovan Pines – Pines is on D.C. United’s roster, but has gotten playing time with both D.C. and Loudoun this year. Playing 270 minutes for the USL Championship side so far this year and standing at 6’5”, Pines is a force on defense.
Kyle Murphy – Murphy is one of four players that have scored for Loudoun United this year. He’s tall and strong but doesn’t carry a ton of weight. Look for him to run off the shoulder of another forward and attack with speed.
Harri Hawkins– Hawkins is an experienced defender from England that provides a variety of options defensively. He’s quick and can cover enough ground to make up for a mistake, but he’s also tall and wins almost 75% of his aerial battles.
Richie Williams –Williams joined Loudoun United in January to be the team’s first ever head coach. A member of D.C. United’s squad in Major League Soccer’s inaugural 1996 season, Williams has been a longstanding figure in the club’s history. He is a three-time MLS Cup winner and former U.S. Men’s National Team assistant coach. Williams began his coaching career as assistant coach at his alma mater the University of Virginia following his retirement as a professional soccer player in 2005.
Catch all the action on ESPN+ then head down to Talen Energy Stadium to catch Philadelphia Union’s matchup with New England Revolution on Saturday, May 4 at 7:30 p.m. ET.