Following a strong 3-0 shutout on the road over Hartford Athletic, Bethlehem Steel FC hits the road once again to wrap up their season series against Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC in an Independence Day showdown at Highmark Stadium on Thursday, July 4 at 7:00 p.m. ET. The match is set to be broadcast on ESPN+.
Home-Field Advantage – Last match was a 2-2 draw with Faris and Michee Ngalina scoring for our squad, but the Steel were in Talen Energy Stadium. Now the Boys in Blue have to play in Highmark Stadium, a notoriously difficult place to play, and last time we were there Steel FC walked away with a victory from the first USL Cup Playoffs match to be played in Highmark, so they’ll be looking to turn the tables after that one. Pittsburgh recently replaced the turf at Highmark with newer turf, so it’s a surface that the visitors have never played on and the Riverhounds are dangerous at home this year with a home record of 3-0-4.
Change – It’s been a little over three months since the two sides have played each other, with a lot of different players and tactics being thrown into the mix in recent weeks for Steel FC. This isn’t going to be the same type of game that happened last time and that could work in favor of the visitors. It was very physical last time out, with Pittsburgh looking to make their presence known. Bob Lille has a very distinct playing style that emphasized direct balls and winning aerial duels, so the Steel know what they’re walking in to. With all of the recent changes in the Steel squad, can the Riverhounds say the same?
Players to watch
Joe Greenspan, D #20 – At 6’6” Greenspan is taller than any other player on the field for either side and he makes his presence known. Defensively, he is physical and isn’t afraid to put you on the ground to make a point. In the attack his height makes him incredibly dangerous on set pieces. Greenspan had the equalizer for the Riverhounds in the March 30 matchup.
Kenardo Forbes, M #11 – Forbes is one of two guys for Pittsburgh that has the license to roam. Anywhere he wants to go on the pitch and anytime he wants to go, he can. He’s one of their creators even though he sits just in front of the Riverhounds’ backline. He can hit the long balls over the top or place them right on the foreheads of his two strikers, Neco Brett and Steevan Dos Santos.
Kevin Kerr, M #10 – The other Pittsburgh player with a license to roam, Kerr is more directly involved in the attack when he sits underneath his strikers. Things can get really dangerous when Forbes plays one to the heads of their strikers and they knock it down in space for Kerr. He creates a lot of chances for the Riverhounds, but can also bury it in the back of the net himself. He scored the first goal for the Hounds in the 2-2 draw against the Steel earlier this year.
Mouhamed Dabo – Out (Hamstring)
Prosper Figbe – Out (Knee)
Caleb Smith – Out (Groin)
The Boys in Blue hit the road for the second time in as many weeks to square off with in-state rivals Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC at Highmark Stadium on Thursday, July 4 at 7:00 p.m. ET. Fans can catch all the action on ESPN+.