Bethlehem Steel FC Begins June At Newcomer North Carolina FC
Steel FC wraps up the three-game road trip with a new opponent
BETHLEHEM, Pa. (June 1, 2018) – Bethlehem Steel FC looks to build a strong foundation for a busy June when the club heads south for a first-time contest against USL-newcomer North Carolina FC on Saturday, June 2. Kick off from Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park is scheduled for 7 p.m. and will be available locally on Service Electric and streamed on ESPN+.
Steel FC enters the inaugural contest after winning three of its five matches in May and is coming off a 1-0 setback at Ottawa Fury FC last Friday. Ottawa got on the board early with a goal in the first minute and ground out the result with a goal-line clearance on an Aidan Apodaca chance and a key save on Philadelphia Union Academy forward Jeremy Rafanello in his team debut.
“I thought Ottawa was a flat performance out of us across the board,” Bethlehem Steel FC head coach Brendan Burke said earlier this week. “We haven’t been that way all season so for it to happen once is understandable but now there needs to be a response going into the [North] Carolina game.”
Saturday night’s contest will be the second of four matches at new league opponents this season, with Steel FC winning the inaugural showdown at Indy Eleven by a 2-1 scoreline. After facing off against North Carolina FC this weekend, Atlanta United in July and Nashville SC in August await Steel FC. Over the past two seasons, Steel FC is 3-0-4 against the new opponents picking up road wins against Ottawa Fury FC and Saint Louis FC in addition to Indy Eleven.
After a slow start in a new league, North Carolina FC has found its form lately at home and hosts Steel FC having won its last four home contests across USL and the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. During that stretch, North Carolina has flexed its offense and defense by outscoring opponents by a 14-1 margin. Last weekend, North Carolina FC tallied its best offensive performance of its season with a 4-0 rout of Atlanta United 2 with goals from three scorers and an own goal. The added side is led by forward Daniel Rios who leads the team with five goals and has two assists.
"You’re playing a team in good form, which put multiple goals on multiple teams at this venue,” Burke said. “It’s a good grass surface and a good opportunity for us to put the ball down and play and try and match them player for player. They have a lot of experience like a lot of the teams we’re playing, there is a real dichotomy in our league and they represent the other half. There are the opportunities where guys can show that they can play against guys like Futty Danso and [Michael] Harrington; guys with real MLS experience and quality in their background. It’s a big opportunity for the guys to show a response and for likely a few guys who’ve never played at this level before to get some experience.”
2018 USL Regular Season
Date: June 2, 2018
Kickoff: 7:00 p.m. ET
Location: Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park, Cary, NC.
Bethlehem Steel FC: 4-5-2
North Carolina FC: 3-4-2