Bethlehem Steel FC Renews Rivalry With Riverhounds Sunday
Steel FC’s offense battles Pittsburgh’s defense at Goodman Stadium
BETHLEHEM, Pa. (August 10, 2018) – After a franchise-record 10 goals in its last three contests, Bethlehem Steel FC returns home to battle in-state rival Pittsburgh Riverhounds on Sunday, August 12. Kick off from Goodman Stadium on the campus of Lehigh University is scheduled for 5 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN+.
Steel FC is off to a blazing start to August, having picked up back-to-back clean sheets on the road at Richmond and Charlotte. Extending its shutout streak to 230 minutes, Steel FC jumped out to an early lead on James Chambers’ seventh-minute goal. After shutting down the Independence offense, Omar Holness and Drew Skundrich added insurance goals to push Steel FC to its second 3-0 victory in five days.
“It was a good week,” Bethlehem Steel FC head coach Brendan Burke said. “I thought we started well in Richmond and that got us off on the right foot for the entire road trip. I thought we were really positive in the second half of the Charlotte game and poured a ton of energy into finishing the road trip off the right way. I thought we were shaky at times in the first half of the Charlotte game but we talked about how big that game was, how big that road win would be to us at the end of the season. Hopefully, that holds true now that we went and took care of business there.”
Sunday’s meeting will be the first showdown in the Keystone State rivalry, with the series tied at 2-2-2. Goodman Stadium has lived up to its Fortress namesake against the Riverhounds, with Steel FC unbeaten in four matches against the club. In the last showdown of 2017, Steel FC jumped out to a three-goal lead in the first half and rode out a 3-2 result in front of the home crowd.
Under the direction of Bob Lilley, Pittsburgh enters the weekend in second place in the USL’s Eastern Conference. Strong defense has been the key for all Lilley teams in the past and the 2018 Riverhounds squad might be the best in league history, having conceded just 10 goals in 21 contests. Led by goalkeeper Dan Lynd’s 11 clean sheets, Pittsburgh is dangerous on the attack with Neco Brett’s 11 goals having him one goal off the Golden Boot chase.
“They don’t concede much and they have something crazy like 14 clean sheets,” Burke said. “They are all bought in and committed. A lot of those things that I spoke about, they do really well. As a group, they fight for each other, cover ground and they play the percentages. They can hit you lightning quick on the counter-attack so they’ve won a handful of games 3-0 themselves. We have a great respect for what they are doing there and the quality of player they’ve been able to bring in with their new-look team.”