Bethlehem Steel FC got some rest last weekend after a big 0-0 away draw against MLS-bound Nashville SC. Now the Steel are looking to sweep expansion side Birmingham Legion FC on Sunday, August 25. The last time the two sides met saw the Steel post a 2-0 clean sheet away to open their 2019 campaign in early March. The Legion are on a roll as of late and even took down the Tampa Bay Rowdies on their own ground earlier this month. It’s no longer the first week of the season and Birmingham has started to figure things out. Kickoff from Talen Energy Stadium is set for 6:00 p.m. ET. Tickets are available here, with the match set to be broadcast on ESPN+.
Form – Birmingham is on a hot streak right now, going undefeated (5-0-1) in their last six matches against USL Championship competition. Even more impressive than their streak is that they haven’t given up a goal since the end of June. The Alabama side has posted impressive wins including a 1-0 result over North Carolina FC at home and a 1-0 clean sheet away over the Tampa Bay Rowdies. The Steel are definitely catching Birmingham at the wrong time.
Attack – Although the Legion have been consistent in getting points over their last string of matches, they’ve had varied degrees of results. Four of their five wins have been 1-0 score lines and their draw was a scoreless result against Ottawa Fury FC. The club’s fifth win was the lone standout in which they scored four goals. The expansion club is winning as of late, but their attack is less than stellar. If the Steel can lock them down then they’ll leave themselves an opportunity to break the streak.
Players to watch
Chandler Hoffman, ST #9 – Hoffman, a former Philadelphia Union draft pick in 2012, is a proven danger man up top in the league. He’s scored 41 goals over his last four seasons in USL Championship, including four this year. Hoffman is one of Birmingham’s leading goal scorers (four goals) and also leads the expansion club in shots on target (18) in 2019.
Prosper Kasim, F #10 – The Legion’s other leading goal scorer, the Ghanaian forward is effective for the Alabama side, leading the club in shots (33) and chances created (33). If you focus too much on Hoffman then that leaves the door open for Kasim to make you pay.
J.J. Williams, ST #11 – A 21-year-old forward on loan to the Legion from Major League Soccer’s Columbus Crew SC, Williams is a big body that can do some damage up top on set pieces. The Montgomery, Alabama native has scored three goals, taken 22 shots and put 10 of those on target in just 11 games with the USL Championship side. He’s 6’3” and weighs 200 lbs., making him a focal point for crosses and set pieces near the area.
Dan Barlow – Suspended