Bethlehem Steel will travel to Red Bull Arena tomorrow in hopes of righting the ship after a somewhat disappointing home opener that saw the side drop three points to FC Cincinnati. There's a lot of interesting things to look out for here in terms of players and future MLS standouts for both the Union and Red Bull affiliate clubs. Sadly Bethlehem will be missing two promising players tomorrow. Cory Burke is out with a knee injury for around a month, and Bolu Akinyode, who was with New York Red Bulls II and came up through the NYRB academy, is suspended for earning two yellow cards in the home opener.
Let's take a look at the NYRB II set up. Brandon Allen and Alex Muyl are both NYRB Academy and Georgetown University alums that have pretty high aspirations for the first team. Junior Flemmings was a nightmare against Louisville City with a goal and an assist in his debut and the former Reggae Boys U-17 and U-20 standout will look to keep his run of form going.
Center back has been a problem for the Red Bulls proper. Future American superstar (hopefully) Matt Miazga has left for Chelsea, Damien Perrinelle is still coming back from an ACL tear, and Zubar and Ouimette (who are on the NYRB II roster) are currently the only guys at CB for the first team. Brendan Burke should look to push the attack and test some relatively unknown academy kids against NYRB II tomorrow.
Now that that's out of the way, let's talk about the club we care about. Bethlehem probably should've gotten something out of their home opener. Thursday I got to chat up manager Brendan Burke and he was looking forward to getting out there and playing a team that they previously met in preseason. He promised a tight game and really wants to ensure that the midfield is dominant.
Forward Seku Conneh has won himself a large number of minutes tomorrow, I would assume, and with a slumping Fabian Herbers, Conneh could be the key to unlocking the NYRB II defense. I would love to see Derrick Jones and James Chambers get a lot of minutes together as I feel like those two link up really well and would be a nice triangle with Leo Fernandes if he gets loaned down again. I'm not really worried about the back line, but I will say that if you don't see Josh Yaro now, you are making a terrible mistake. He is the best center back I have ever seen spring a counter attack in The States. I honestly don't get the argument that he is too small, as he looks like he could make the jump to MLS today.
Coach Burke will surely look to apply pressure and capitalize on finishing so that they can try to put the game to bed early on away and recreate that smothering defense that served them so well against Montreal in the first week. Inclement weather will be an issue but we will see how things go with the Steel's first ever trip to Red Bull Arena tomorrow night at 7:30.
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