KICKOFF: Bethlehem Steel FC Opens Third Season Today

Today at 2PM, at Goodman Stadium on the campus of Lehigh University, the Bethlehem Steel Football Club will kick off their third campaign with an opening match versus the Richmond Kickers.  They’ll also be sporting their new kits for the first time on the pitch.

Gates open at 1PM, and good seats are still available.  Last I checked, parking is free, and tailgating is encouraged.  Here’s some team info to help you get ready for today’s match:

Player Updates and Lineups

Keep in mind that the Steel FC USL roster is made up of Steel contracted players, Union academy players who are ready for their first taste of professional soccer, and Union reserves who need playing time.  Predicting which players may be available and who will play can be tricky.  Here’s what we’re hearing today:

Joining us from the MLS Union–the parent club of the Steel FC–today we expect 20 F Marcus Epps, 24 MF Adam Najem, 32 D Matt Real,  4 D Mark McKenzie and 29 GK Jake McGuire

Injured:  Midfielders Omar Holness and Drew Skundrich have been ruled out of today’s game.  42 F Aidan Apodaca and 37 F Chris Nanco are also injured and not expected to start.

Shape:  This is what we’re expecting when the Starting XI take the field for the Steel FC today:

 

…………………………………….F 40 Brandon Allen…………………………………………..

…..F 38 Santi Moar………..M 24 Adam Najem………………F 20 Marcus Epps….

……………….M 45 James Chambers……………….M 41 Mike Catalano………………

D 32 Matt Real-D 4 Mark McKenzie-D 44 Brandon Aubrey-D 48 Matt Mahoney

…………………………………..GK 29 Jake McGuire……………………………………………

 

I don’t have an expected list of reserves, but keep in mind that the Union/Steel assign the uniform numbers based on player status:  Numbers 1-33 are MLS Philadelphia Union players, 36-49 are Steel FC USL players, and >50 are Union Academy players.

What To Watch

  • Richmond was one of the worst squads in the USL last season, but have added a couple of good players over the winter and may be getting some talent from their MLS affiliate, DC United.  Watch to see if they look like they’ve improved.  Still, SteelFC was 0-1-1 versus that side last year.
  • Watch to see if the Steel FC look good playing together on the field.  They’ve had a number of preseason games, but none with the roster completely intact, and the addition of the Union players on match day is always a little tricky.  Their ability to communicate on the field will be a key to today’s game.
  • Watch F 40 Brandon Allen.  He’s a prodigious goal scorer and finisher.  He didn’t light things up during the preseason, but now that the games count we’re expecting him to be able to put the ball in the net.  If he gets over-defended, we’re expecting him to be able to feed his teammates for quality chances.
  • Watch 45 James Chambers.  He’s the captain and the leader on the pitch–almost a player-coach.  It will be up to him to facilitate the communication on the field and help the whole team play better.
  • At times last season I felt like the team couldn’t effectively control the ball in center of the midfield.  Watch today to see if center backs McKenzie and Aubrey and Midfielders Chambers and Najem can control the middle.

More Match-Day Information

“What if it’s too cold for me?”

OK, you can follow from home:

The USL Match Center is here

Social Media, you can follow on Twitter @BsteelFC or by searching hashtag #BSTvRIC

The game is available LIVE on YouTube here  and will be televised on Service Electric TV-2 Sports, channels 50/550 on tape delay at 3PM.

 

“What if I want to know more?”

Game Notes: (rosters, additional match day information)

Richmond_318

Additional player notes on this year’s squad will be posted following this post.

 

“What if I’d rather go to hockey at 3PM?”

I hear you.  But they won a huge game last night and Springfield is dreadful.  The Phantoms will be fine for one game without you.

 

 

@Kram209



Categories: Bethlehem Steel FC, Kram's Korner - From the Club Level

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