Bethlehem Steel FC Heads to Indy Eleven for Road Finale
Steel FC looks to continue chase for the playoffs
BETHLEHEM, Pa. (October 5, 2018) – Two points separate Bethlehem Steel FC from fifth place as the club concludes its 2018 regular season road schedule at Indy Eleven. Kick off from Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis is scheduled for 7 p.m. and will be broadcast live on ESPN+. Supporters of the boys in blue can join Steel FC at its final viewing party of the year at Golazo House, located at 123 W. 4th Street in Bethlehem
While two points is fifth place in the Eastern Conference on the other end of the spectrum sees Steel FC two points above the playoff line. Steel FC enters after a strong defensive performance on the road at Ottawa Fury FC where four teenage starters aided in a clean sheet.
“Not the performance in the first half that was not what we set out to do and we got a little bit lucky and a little help which you need at times on the road,” Bethlehem Steel FC head coach Brendan Burke said on his weekly media call. “Ultimately we started three 18-year-olds and a 17-year-old and some other guys that are only 20 years old and when those are your more experienced guys, you are going to make mistakes. There are going to be nerves and things like that but we went away to a team in a knockout match essentially and we held our own; survived it and move on to the next one. What I said to the guys in the locker room after the game was that was a fantastic experience for all of you and know that nerves and being tentative can’t be a part of our identity for the last couple weeks.”
Saturday’s affair is the third and final regular season contest between Steel FC and Indy Eleven, with the road team claiming wins in both previous matches. Steel FC claimed the opening result at Lucas Oil Stadium in May as Santi Moar and Prosper Chiluya tallied second-half goals to lead Steel FC to a 2-1 victory. Indy Eleven responded in Bethlehem with a late set-piece goal from forward Jack McInerney to claim a 1-0 result.
Steel FC has turned to its youth for the playoff push in its last two contests, starting five players under the age of 19 against Toronto FC II which ended in a 4-0 win. With the objective of the club to develop youth prospects, the push for the playoffs has provided an added level of quality to the experience gained on the field.
“We are a playoff team playing against other playoff teams or playoff contenders,” Burke said. “That ramps up the intensity of the game and what’s on the line for everyone involved significantly and that’s the type of pressure that ultimately creates better players. We have put ourselves in a great position to experience these type of knockout games the last three or four weeks of the season.”
Indy Eleven enters the weekend having won just twice in its last five contests. Last weekend Indy fell to USL Regular Season Champions FC Cincinnati, 3-0. Eight of the club’s 13 victories in its inaugural USL season have come at Lucas Oil Stadium with only four sides, including Bethlehem, having left Indiana with three points.