Bethlehem Steel FC will look to continue their unbeaten streak tomorrow night as they face off against Harrisburg City Islanders in the first of three meetings in the Battle of I-78 this season.
Steel FC have been white hot, carving out an undefeated streak that currently sits at 5 games and they're fresh off a deserved 2-1 victory over FC Montreal last weekend. Cory Burke is back for the side, which should provide a nice lift as he and Seku Conneh both looked pretty deadly up top last week. Everything else that I could say about this team is pretty much clockwork. Brendan Burke preaches the gospel of steady play. If Bethlehem comes out in the first 10-15 minutes and plays their game, the other team has to adapt to them and I don't think anyone has figured out how to throw Bethlehem off of that yet. Leo Fernandes probably logs minutes with Bethlehem given that he wasn't featured in the Union's win over United last night and I wouldn't be too surprised to see Walter Restrepo (who's really come into some good run of form) suit up for the blue and gold tomorrow night either.
Every week poses a new set of challenges for Steel FC however, and Harrisburg isn't to be taken lightly. From a venue standpoint Harrisburg play half their home games at Clipper Stadium in Lancaster. Branding talk and front office press releases aside, this is a baseball stadium. What this means in a nutshell is that it's going to be a narrow field. The dimensions are the same of course, but the big gripes are that it's not terribly aesthetically pleasing and the field is on a slant which can slip up some of the better line officials in the league. HCI are a dangerous team in their own right. The duo of Danny DiPrima and Bobby Warshaw are going to be the biggest test of Derrick Jones and Bolu Akinyode so far this year. The two Pennsylvania natives are good on the ball, able to find passes and Warshaw has a bit of a reputation as a hard guy to play against physically. Ultimately if he tries to go toe to toe with Jones and Bolu I don't think anyone accomplishes much and it becomes a battle of who can get wide players more involved.
This will be a historic night in Pennsylvania soccer and City Islanders might be looking to make a bit of a statement here when Bethlehem rolls into town. Watch the match here, follow us on twitter for live tweets and other coverage here and I run my own account that you can go poke around here.
Game time is 6PM EST on Sunday May 22nd.