Steel FC Heads to Ottawa as Battle for the USL Cup Playoffs Heats Up
Steel FC heads to Canada with one point separating the two sides
BETHLEHEM, Pa. (September 28, 2018) – After setting a record for single-season victories, Bethlehem Steel FC will look to add to its record-setting season as it heads north to battle Ottawa Fury FC on Sunday, September 30. Kick off from TD Place Stadium is scheduled for 1 p.m. and will be broadcast live on Service Electric andESPN+.
Sunday’s matinee features sixth-placed Steel FC and seventh-placed Ottawa as the USL regular season grinds to a close. Steel FC has a game in hand on the Canadian side so Sunday’s matchup is a six-point contest that could push the side to a second-consecutive appearance in the USL Cup Playoffs.
Steel FC is in strong form after knocking off Toronto FC II last weekend, 4-0. 18-year-old Cameroonian Faris scored the quickest goal in club history, finding the back of the net 61 seconds after the referee’s opening whistle. Fellow 18-year-old Michee Ngalina added a goal and an assist in the second half while goalkeeper Jake McGuire picked up his fourth clean sheet of the season. Overall, the Steel FC defense limited Toronto to two shots on net in route to its club-tying seventh shutout of the season.
“Pleased with the performance against Toronto, to keep a clean sheet against a team that had been very hot on the attacking side of things was important to us,” Bethlehem Steel FC head coach Brendan Burke said on the win. “Really happy with the progress that we made on that day but now we got to see a much tougher opponent and a much bigger game up in Ottawa this weekend.”
The September finale is the third and final regular-season contest between Steel FC and Ottawa, with the home side take each of the previous contests. Ottawa claimed a 1-0 win back on May 25, taking advantage of a Kevin Oliveira goal in the opening minute. Steel FC bounced back against the Canadian side in August as Santi Moar bagged a brace in the opening half to lead the side to a 2-0 win.
“I think an early goal helps no matter who you are playing against,” Burke said on the early goal trends in the previous matchups. “Certainly against a team whose average goal scoring attack happens in two passes which is absolutely remarkable That means they make a run, cross it, goal. That’s what we have to be prepared for.”
Both sides will be without key players due to suspensions as Steel FC center backBrandon Aubrey is out for yellow card accumulation while Ottawa’s Nana Attakora and Kevin Oliveira are out due to red cards.
Sitting one point behind Steel FC with a record of 13-14-5, Ottawa will be playing its third match in nine days when Steel FC comes to town. Since the August 22 contest, Ottawa has gone 3-3 with the winning side picking up a shutout in five of those matches. After falling to Louisville City FC 4-0 last weekend, Ottawa bounced back with a penalty kick goal from Steevan Dos Santos to hold off Canadian-rival Toronto FC II by a 1-0 margin. Dos Santos leads the team with five goals and five assists. To find the player to watch, the other side of the pitch finds goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau, who set a USL record with his 14th clean sheet on Wednesday. Crepeau has earned all 13 wins for the Ottawa and averages just one goal allowed per contest this season.
“We have to be very disciplined,” Burke said about the upcoming match. “The big conversation has been around discipline and making sure that we are moving our feet in those moments where we get isolated and that we don’t allow penetration the way it was happening. Transition in particular so we are fully aware that it’s a really tall order and half the group will probably be teenagers and no one has ever accomplished that in this league. We are in unchartered territory and we know it so everyone will have to be hyper aware.”
2018 USL Regular Season
Date: September 30, 2018
Kickoff: 1 p.m.
Location: TD Place Stadium, Ottawa, ON.
Bethlehem Steel FC: 13-12-6
Ottawa Fury FC: 13-14-5