Takeaways: Burke praises the professionalism of Przybylko, versatility of Turner


Joining media for his weekly call before catching the team bus to Washington D.C., Bethlehem Steel FC Head Coach Brendan Burke took some time to praise the first-team performances of Kacper Przybylko and Olivier Mbaizo. Przybylko has now scored in two-straight starts for Philadelphia Union, with Mbaizo providing his first MLS assist in the match against FC Cincinnati last night.

“It was awesome watching the game last night! We were saying what a good pro Kacper [Przybylko] was when he came down to us and you wish you could hand that out in a bottle to every first team player that comes down to us about seizing opportunity,” said Burke. “Some guys think it’s lip service and that they know better, but he’s case and point that when you approach it the right way and show what you can do that your chance can come real quick for a number of different reasons. More importantly is a dress rehearsal. You’re actually preparing yourself well for when your opportunity comes with the big team and he grabbed it with both hands this week, with both of those performances.”

The type of player that every coach wants

Cole Turner has played in two very different positions for Steel FC in 2019, making six appearances and four starts. Three of those four starts and one more appearance came at center back, while another start came and substitute appearance came as a midfielder. Burke praised Turner’s ability to do whatever his team needs him to do this season.

“Mentality, IQ and effort. Those three things,” noted Burke. “I think he’s fearless, I think he’s intelligent and I think he leaves nothing on the field. I know that he can execute, no matter what position I play him in. It’s not perfect when we play him at center back, but he also has an excellent technical passing range and the IQ helps him get through it even though he was playing a different position. I think he’s going to be a center midfielder. In what role exactly I don’t know, but he’s got some of the makeup of a six. I think that’s where we really need to focus his time and energy now, as a six and helping him be an understudy to James [Chambers] and play alongside James at times.”

Panamanian on the rise

FIFA’s U-20 World Cup will begin play later this month in Poland and Panama will have one of Steel FC’s new forwards waiting to knock a few goals into the back of the net. Saed Díaz earned an international call-up for the global tournament, one that Head Coach Brendan Burke sees as a great opportunity for the young striker.

“It’s fantastic for any kid that age that’s been given this sort of opportunity,” Burke stated when asked about Saed Diaz’s call-up to Panama’s FIFA U-20 World Cup squad. “I think he has to be very proud, his family has to be very proud and it is a massive opportunity for him. You’re on a global stage. It’s a logical progression for a lot of these guys who feature in their [U-20s] to go on and have good careers in the pro game, but also they’re auditioning for their Olympic teams and their senior teams in the next couple of years. It’s a huge honor, it’ll be a really good experience, I hope he gets good minutes while he’s there because that’s experience that he can bring back to us. He’s dealt with some injuries here early in the season, but those two performances have shown some glimpses at least of what we went after in the first place. He’s a very big bodied, industrious kid who’s a willing runner and typically outworks our entire team when he plays in the front. We talk about defending from the front, its value and importance now to us as a club and I think he represents that very well. I’m hopeful that this kind of kick starts his year and he brings that experience back to us.”

Bethlehem Steel FC takes on Loudoun United FC at Audi tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. ET., while Philadelphia Union hosts the New England Revolution of MLS at Talen Energy Stadium on Saturday, May 4 at 7:30 p.m. ET.


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