Steel Saturday Night

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Bethlehem Steel FC signing Ken Tribbett has been pushing hard to win a place on the Philadelphia Union’s opening day roster and could very well make his third consecutive appearance in the starting line-up when the Major League Soccer club take on the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the North American Soccer League at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburgh, Florida, on Saturday night at 7:00 PM EST.

Tribbett, who made his name, so to speak, as a holding midfielder in college but appeared in every minute of every United Soccer League game for the Harrisburg City Islanders last season primarily as a proper defender, made his second start of this pre-season at left centerback for the Union before being substituted on the hour in the 1-1 draw with DC United this past Wednesday. The 23-year-old Drexel University product, who stands a full six feet two inches tall, is valued for his aerial skills and is said to have a very high soccer IQ, as well (perhaps not very surprising for a guy who was Second Team Academic All-America selection following his senior season for the Dragons). Although the 26-year-old Brazilian import Anderson Conceicao and holdover Richie Marquez will probably be the first choice center defenders for Philadelphia this season, it is looking more and more possible that Tribbett could be providing valuable cover on the back line in the center of the pitch at the MLS level.
The other two defenders currently under contract to Bethlehem Steel FC who appeared in Philadelphia’s pre-season opener against the NASL’s Jacksonville Armada FC recently, central defender Mickey Daly and right back Ryan Richter, have gone unused in the Union’s last two exhibition contests in Florida. The same can be said about midfielder Derrick Jones, the soon to be 19-year-old from Ghana who the first player ever signed by BSFC and also turned out for Philadelphia against Jacksonville. The other BSFC midfielder who has appeared in pre-season for the Union thus far, Bolu Akinyode, the 21-year-old Nigerian who put in half an hour’s work versus the Chicago Fire last week, also did not play versus DC United on Wednesday.
The Major League Soccer regular season opener for the Philadelphia Union (an away tie with FC Dallas in Texas on March 6th) is barely more than a fortnight away. Considering that the Tampa Bay Rowdies are an NASL club (read, supposedly a second division team) and that the start of the MLS campaign is rapidly approaching, the Union coaching staff might very well want to use the Tampa Bay game as a one last opportunity to seriously evaluate players on the fringe of a final 28-man roster spot. This, of course, because the Philadelphia brain trust would then want to use the Union’s final two exhibition contests in Florida as a means to get the team’s projected starting line-up into the right state of match fitness.
In other words, now might be the right time for the Union coaching staff to take one last look at some of the longer shots – read, the Bethlehem Steel FC players in pre-season training with Philadelphia such as Daly, Richter, Jones and Akinyode.
Bethlehem Steel FC signing Raymond Lee, the 22-year-old left back from Saint Louis University who was the 4th round pick (# 71 overall) of the Philadelphia Union at the 2015 MLS Superdraft, has not been on the roster for any of the Union’s three exhibition contests played in Florida this winter. As a rookie, Lee made just one disastrous MLS substitute appearance lasting all of 12 minutes in early April before being waived by Philadelphia towards the end of August. The Union’s handling of their left backs in their training games thus far indicates that Lee is, at best, currently running behind the Brazilian Fabinho, 2016 MLS Superdraft selection Taylor Washington and even Ibrahima Diaby, the 20-year-old trialist formerly with SOA Yamoussoukro from Ivory Coast.
As for BSFC, the new United Soccer League club have announced another new addition, bringing the total number of players under contract / loan agreement at the moment to fourteen.
Jamaican first division club Rivoli United, who currently sit second from bottom in the 12-team Red Stripe National Premier League having already played 25 of 33 matches that comprise their 2015/16 season, have agreed to send prolific striker Cory Burke out on loan to Bethlehem Steel FC for the duration of the 2016 USL campaign. The 24-year-old attacker, who reputedly stands an impressive six-foot, four inches tall, has been one of the most lethal marksmen in the domestic league the last two seasons with a combined 23 goals to his credit. This term, Burke found the back of the net for Rivoli United a dozen times, a figure which still ranks second in the NPL.
Clearly on the strength of his goal-scoring abilities, the emerging Burke was called up to the senior national team of Jamaica for the very first time in his career by Winfried Schaefer, the seasoned German trainer who previously steered Cameroon to the African Nations Cup title in 2002, for the critical World Cup qualifying match against Haiti this past November … although Burke did not win his first ever international cap, that fact the he traveled to Port-au-Prince and participated in training with a Jamaica squad that included seven players then on the books of English first or second division clubs (and another seven players under contract to Major League Soccer outfits) is certainly encouraging.
Editor’s Note : if the Philadelphia Union post a live streaming link for tonight’s match against the NASL’s Tampa Bay Rowdies, as they did for their previous exhibition contest against MLS club DC United, d.F. will post it in the comments section.  Check below.

Categories: Bethlehem Steel FC

2 replies

  1. Philadelphia Union vs Tampa Bay Rowdies

    Saturday night at 7:00 PM EST … live streaming link on you tube via Union website

  2. Philadelphia Union (MLS) vs Tampa Bay Rowdies (NASL)

    a more direct link to you tube broadcast :

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