CHESTER, Pa. (August 23, 2019) – Bethlehem Steel FC (6-12-5, 13th place in East) comes off the bye week and hosts 2019 USL Championship expansion side Birmingham Legion FC (8-10-5, 10th place in East) at Talen Energy Stadium this Sunday at 6:00 p.m. ET. The match is a big opportunity for the Steel to make up ground on the Legion, with the home side trailing Birmingham by six points for the final playoff spot in the East, making this a playoff-caliber game at Talen Energy Stadium.
The Boys in Blue had a tough task last time out, in trying to shut down a steam rolling Nashville SC side on the road on August 10. The Steel did just that behind seven second-half saves from goalkeeper Todd Morton and an acrobatic goal-line clearance from defender Walter Cortés that involved a bicycle kick from the Costa Rican. Morton’s stops earned him a USL Championship Team of the Week nod in his first shutout for the Pennsylvania side, but the Steel defense was a key part in the clean sheet. Nashville didn’t have a single shot on target through the entirety of the first half and Brendan Burke’s side will look to carry that same mentality forward towards Birmingham.
Steel FC downed the Legion 2-0 away in the Alabama side’s inaugural match back in March. Birmingham has made plenty of changes since then. MLS loanees Eddie Opoku and J.J. Williams from Columbus Crew SC have invigorated Tom Soehn’s team. They are on a run of incredible form in which they’ve earned a 1-0 win at the Tampa Bay Rowdies and gone 5-0-1 with six clean sheets. Opoku is expected to miss this match due to injury, as are veteran midfielder Daigo Kobayashi and former Union draft pick Chandler Hoffman. Even without key players, this is not the same team that the Steel saw to open their 2019 campaign. Look for Philadelphia Union forward Michee Ngalina to make an impact, as well as Faris who looks to be injury free with his absence from the injury report.
2019 USL Championship Regular Season
Date: August 25, 2019
Kickoff: 6:00 p.m. ET
Location: Talen Energy Stadium, Chester, Pa.
Referee: Elijio Arreguin
Assistant Referees: Justen Lopez; Amilcar Sicaju
Fourth Official: Melvin Holmes II
Bethlehem Steel FC: 6-12-5, 13th place
Birmingham Legion FC: 8-10-5, 10th place