Game: Bethlehem Steel FC at Charlotte Independence
Date: Friday, June 10th
Time: 7:00 PM
Venue: Ramblewood Stadium (Charlotte, North Carolina)
Referees: REF: RUBIEL VAZQUEZ, AR1: Kevin Broadley, AR2: Gregory Brigman, 4TH: Eric Barns
Road trips have been few and far between this year so far for Bethlehem Steel FC. Whoever makes the schedule at USL decided to ease the side into the league and then come down hard on them in June. Five away games against five very capable clubs. Obviously we'll break them down week by week but here is the overview.
- Charlotte June 10
- Wilmington June 17
- Richmond June 25
- Cincy July 2
- Toronto 2 July 6
We'll talk about July when we get there. Besides, this Charlotte team is a pretty good one. Currently in sixth place in the East, Charlotte likes to come out and score early. Not that I blame them. Caleb Calvert is the guy to watch for any neutrals that stumble upon this preview or the game itself. The former Chivas USA and current Colorado Rapids forward is big, tall and full of potential that he's looking to unleash this year as a regular member of Charlotte's squad. When he plays, he scores. Last year saw him play for the Independence twice putting up two goals and two assists. This year has seen Calvert finally get a starting role, with eight starts this season that have seen him put away three goals on 20 shots.
From a Philadelphia Union tinted lens (just a giant 1 right in the middle of the glasses, if you're wondering) it might be nice to know you can see two ex-Union first teamers play against their former club. Zach Pfeffer is also on loan from Colorado, and Brian Brown should start opposite Calvert when Charlotte take on Union affiliates Friday night. Pfeffer is someone that was deemed a known entity and was shipped to Colorado who apparently thought the same thing and loaned him to the USL side. One start in five appearances has limited Pfeffer's chances to show what he can do post-Union but hopefully for Brendan Burke, their reunion goes a bit better then Aaron Wheeler's did.
Steel FC are going to keep getting younger. In his press conference this week Brendan Burke added a few more academy names that are going to travel with the team this week. Dawson McCartney is a midfielder who has logged some big minutes for the Academy this season. While I'll dash any hopes of a super young midfielder getting a start, he's probably a lock for the 18 and might see some playing time if things go really well for Bethlehem against Charlotte. Andrew Verdi will also be making the eight hour bus ride. He's been the number one for the U18's starting 22 games and coming just shy of an 85 percent save percentage. Again, I would expect either Samir Badr or CJ Dos Santos (good training reps with Steel FC since he's been there) to start, but he's being rewarded with a spot in the 18.
This match is going to be a great test for a young lineup. Watch it over here on YouTube this Friday at 7pm. I promise it'll be a good time. Follow this lovely site for anything Philly soccer related here and give me a follow if you like talking about USL or Bethlehem Steel FC here.