Bethlehem Steel FC will look to notch another chapter in their remarkable 2017 campaign when the club heads to top-seeded Louisville City FC in the USL Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Friday, Oct. 20. Kickoff from Louisville Slugger Field is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. and will be streamed on YouTube and the club’s website.
2017 has been an historic season thus far for Steel FC, with the club reaching the postseason in only its second season. The club established records in overall wins (12), goals (46) and saw numerous individual records fall along the way.
Steel FC enters the postseason having gotten results in seven of their last eight matches, with the club’s only loss coming by a 1-0 margin to Rochester Rhinos. Steel FC battled to a 1-1 draw in their most recent match against Saint Louis FC this past Sunday. After the visitors tallied the opening goal, Steel FC responded less than a minute later as defender Matt Real collected his first professional goal.
"We've been pressure during the past few weeks to make sure we got results," Bethlehem Steel FC head coach Brendan Burke said. "I think we've been in this fight or flight mode, and we're up for the fight. I think we will be again."
Friday night will be the third meeting between Steel FC and Louisville, with Louisville claiming a 3-1 victory at Goodman Stadium while the two battled to a 2-2 draw in Kentucky on Friday, September 15. In the recent matchup, Steel FC were fearless in the difficult environment and claimed a pair of one-goal leads with strikes from Cory Burke and Santi Moar.
"Now it's time to sit back and what the players do what they do and try and do what's gotten us here over the past couple of weeks, which is be fearless on the road," Burke said. "You have to be fearless, energetic and not play any differently than we have this year. I think we've been good at putting teams under pressure in their own environments and getting off to a good start on the road and that's going to be important. The most important thing we can do for ourselves is match the energy in the first 15-20 minutes."
Louisville City FC claimed the USL’s regular season Eastern Conference Championship this season, racking up 62 points with an 18W-6L-8Drecord and finishing second overall in the league. Louisville has made the most of their 16 home matches at Louisville Slugger Field, losing just twice while claiming 11 outright victories. Steel FC was one of just three opponents overcome the energetic atmosphere, battling to a 2-2 draw back on September 15.
While Louisville is led by forward Luke Spencer’s 10-goal burst, the club has offense entirely across the field as all 17 field players scored a goal during the regular season. Overall this season, Louisville tallied 58 goals while only 31 goals have gotten past goalkeepers Greg Ranjitsingh and Tim Dobrowolski.