Bethlehem Steel FC opens the month of June with a first time opponent, as the club hosts USL newcomer Ottawa Fury FC on Sunday, June 4. Kick off from Goodman Stadium is set for 5 p.m. and can be streamed online both on YouTube and on the club’s website along with locally on Service Electric.
Along with welcoming a new opponent to the Lehigh Valley, the match will be the first of three Youth Soccer Days hosted by Steel FC.
Steel FC seeks to build off last weekend’s momentum that saw the club knock off in-state rival Harrisburg City Islanders, 3-1. Team captain James Chambers ignited the offense, scoring his first goal of the season while also becoming the club’s all-time leader in starts (30) and minutes (2,674). Seku Conneh followed up the captain’s goal with his own history, notching his fifth goal in the second half to double Steel FC’s lead. Conneh’s goal tied the club’s single-season scoring mark and pushed his all-time club record to seven. After Harrisburg City Islanders answered with an 80th-minute goal, substitute Josh Heard drew a penalty kick that was converted by Cory Burke to seal Steel FC’s first victory against Harrisburg.
“I think we walked away from the Harrisburg game comfortably saying that there were six or seven real high quality goal scoring opportunities and it led to three goals,” Bethlehem Steel FC head coach Brendan Burke said. “It was a difficult week turning around from traveling and then coming home and playing on a Thursday morning at 11 a.m. I think we were up for the game and dictated the match for the first 15-20 minutes but let ourselves down.”
Sunday will be the first meeting between Steel FC and Ottawa Fury FC. Ottawa joined the USL in October, after playing the previous three season in the NASL. Ottawa is currently tied with Steel FC in the Eastern Conference standings with 12 points on a 3-3-3 record.
“We will have to rely on our structure and keep shape,” Burke said. “On the flip side we’ll have to control the flow of the game and keep meaningful possession to pin them back. In terms of the personnel, we’ll be preparing for older, more experienced team. Ottawa is a pretty seasoned team.”
Ottawa enters Sunday’s match coming off a 4-0 defeat (5-2 agg.) to MLS-leading Toronto FC in the semifinals of the Canadian Championship. In league play, Ottawa Fury FC is riding high and on a three-match winning streak. Last weekend, Ottawa downed Richmond Kickers 5-3 with Sito Seoane finding the back of the net twice.