Game: Pittsburgh Riverhounds vs. Bethlehem Steel FC
Date: Saturday, August 13th
Time: 7:00 PM
Venue: Highmark Stadium (Pittsburgh, PA)
Referees: REF: CHARLES MURPHY, AR1: Corey Yerace, AR2: Jason Caruso, 4TH: Max Hartman
All-time record: Bethlehem Steel FC is 1-0-0 against Pittsburgh, winning their only meeting 2-0 back on July 10 at Goodman Stadium. Corey Burke and Leo Fernandes were the goalscorers.
What Pittsburgh will look like: The Riverhounds are playing on short rest, having lost 3-1 to FC Montreal in Quebec. Corey Hertzog was the lone goalscorer, and has scored in three straight games. Hertzog leads the team with seven goals on the season, however the former Reading United, New York Red Bulls, and Orlando City forward played 90 minutes against Montreal and 90 minutes against Louisville City the preceding Friday. Fellow Reading United alum and former Philadelphia Union SuperDraft pick Stephen Okai is a fixture in the Pittsburgh midfield, contributing two goals and two assists in just over 1000 minutes this season. Four players are on loan from Columbus Crew SC - midfielders Marshall Hollingsworth, Cristian Martinez, Rodrigo Saravia, and defender Chad Barson. Of these four, only Hollingsworth has seen any significant time this season, as Martinez, Saravia, and Barson were brought in on Wednesday.
Pittsburgh will be without South African midfielder Matshidiso Miloto or Chad Barson, who picked up a red card on Wednesday against Montreal. Their starting right back Sergio Campbell also came off bench, so there might not be as much of an advantage to them playing midweek.
Going behind to FC Montreal when and how they did isn’t indicative of how they usually play, the games against Charlotte and Louisville City at home were more of how they should face BSFC.
What Bethlehem will look like: With the rash of injuries to the Union’s first team, look for Steel to rely more on their regular core of players. Matt Jones is injured, so Samir Badr will most likely get the start in goal. New Union signing Derrick Jones is listed as questionable for the Union’s game, so he too probably won’t get the nod for Steel. If you’re looking for Union players, good bets would be Taylor Washington, Anderson Conceicao, Eric Ayuk, Leo Fernandes, Fabian Herbers, and the Union’s newest signing Auston Trusty. BSFC talisman Ryan Richter has had an excellent season, captaining the first year club to being withing nine points of the final playoff spot with six games to go.
What to expect: Pittsburgh hasn’t been able to put anything together this season. They’ve allowed 38 goals this season (fifth worst in USL) and only scored 21 goals (tied for second worst in USL). When a team can’t score and can’t stop anyone from scoring, they become a target for hungry teams like Steel. It’s up to Bethlehem to go and take three points that can go a long way in fulfilling their playoff aspirations.