A look at Steel FC’s Eastern Conference Semifinal opponent
If you’ve followed the coaching career of Pittsburgh Riverhounds head coach Bob Lilley then you know that opponents finding the back of the net comes at a premium. That’s what Bethlehem Steel FC will be looking to do as it faces its in-state rival in the opening round of the USL Cup Playoffs.
Pittsburgh enters the playoffs as the third seed in the East, having only lost five of its 34 matches in 2018. Pittsburgh opened the season with a 10-match unbeaten streak before falling to Nashville SC, 1-0. While the Hounds finished the regular season with the conference’s sixth-best offense (47 goals), they finished the season with a +21 goal differential. Pittsburgh might have lost its regular season finale against Red Bulls II, prior to that they hadn’t lost since September 1st at FC Cincinnati.
Highlights at Highmark
Highmark Stadium has been a difficult environment for teams to claim three points at in 2018, with only Nashville and the Charleston Battery departing Pittsburgh with a victory. On its friendly turf, Pittsburgh has netted 25 goals while allowing just eight goals with one coming from Steel FC. Overall Pittsburgh held its guests scoreless 10 times in 17 home matches.
A remarkable streak continued for Lilley this season as one of his goalkeepers claimed the league’s Golden Glove award for the fifth-consecutive season. Philadelphia Union goalkeeper John McCarthy began the streak in 2014 as a member of the Rochester Rhinos with Brandon Miller (2015), Tomas Gomez (2016, 2017) before Riverhounds keeper Dan Lynd continued the streak this season. Lynd enters the playoffs with an 0.80 goals against average with 12 clean sheets and 43 saves to his name.
The Brett and Forbes Show
A key for any opponent looking to knock off the Riverhounds circles on the duo of Neco Brett and Kenardo Forbes. Brett led the team with 15 goals and adding seven assists while Forbes had a team-high eight helpers while connecting on four goals. When either player has a role in a Riverhounds goal, the club is 14-1-3.
Bethlehem Steel FC squares off against the Riverhounds on Saturday, October 20. Kick off from Highmark Stadium is scheduled for 7 p.m. and will be broadcast live on ESPN+.