After playing two matches in four days, Bethlehem Steel FC will wrap up its busiest stretch of the season when its hosts second place Louisville City FC on Sunday, August 20. The match will be Steel FC’s third in just a seven day span. Kickoff from Goodman Stadium on the campus of Lehigh University is scheduled for 5 p.m. Fans that can’t make it to the match can watch it online both on YouTube and on the club’s website.
Steel FC has split the busy slate thus far, defeating Toronto FC II, 3-1, last Sunday before falling to Eastern Conference leaders, Charlotte Independence 1-0 on Wednesday. With the mixed results, Steel FC still finds itself in a strong position for the playoffs entering the weekend in sixth place and five points clear of playoff line.
Against Charlotte, Steel FC held its own against the conference leaders. While Independence leading scorer Enzo Martinez delivered the match’s only goal, Steel FC led the match in numerous statistical categories but were unable to get past Independence goalkeeper Cody Mizell. The keeper turned away all seven Steel FC shots on goal to collect his fourth clean sheet.
“I thought it was one of our better performances all year and we were unlucky to not come away with a goal and it says a lot that their keeper was named man of the match,” Bethlehem Steel FC head coach Brendan Burke said. “I was impressed with the intensity that we pressed with, thought we turned them over seven to 10 times in the areas we talked about. Maybe we didn’t transition to goal quick enough but we played really well as a whole. A lot of individuals put on strong performances.”
Sunday’s contest will be the third all-time matchup between the two clubs with Louisville scoring the only goal in the series last August in a 1-0 victory. At Goodman Stadium last May, the two clubs played to a scoreless draw.
“I think Louisville is a first place team,” Burke said. “Charlotte earns how they have gotten there and Louisville is equal to be pressing for the top stop. They are difficult and press you hard; they are physical and win all their aerial duels along with being well organized defensively.”
Louisville City FC enters the match having won three of their last four contests, including a convincing 5-0 performance against rival FC Cincinnati last weekend. In the convincing victory, five different Louisville players found their name on the scoresheet. Most impressively was that all five goals came on assists. Louisville City FC has been paced this season by forward Luke Spencer, who leads the squad with six goals in 2017. This season, the club has had 12 players combined for 36 goals, the third most in the East.