Match: Bethlehem Steel FC vs. Orlando City B
Date: Sunday, April 23rd
Time: 4:00 pm
Refs: Referee: Henrik Karlsson AR1: Victor Vazquez AR2: Joshua Encarnacion 4TH: Amber O’Connor
Steel all time vs OCB(W-L-T): 0-1-1
How Orlando will look: Orlando City B have played as many games in the tri-state area as they have in Orlando this year. Coming off of games last week against New York Red Bulls II (3-1 loss) and Harrisburg City Islanders (1-1 draw), the Young Lions will look for a positive result in their third game in nine days. Being a fellow “2” side, trying to predict OCB’s roster make up is an exercise in futility. That being said, Albert Dikwa has looked bright, bagging two goals with Pierre Da Silva leading the league in assists with four in five appearances. Also worth mentioning is that the USL schedule hasn’t been very kind to Anthony Pulis’ side. Entering this week they’re the only team in the East to play six games, and thus far they haven’t been able to make the most of it. Orlando’s nine points out of a possible 18 puts Bethlehem in position to overtake them for ninth in the conference with three games in hand.
How Steel will look: With Cory Burke being a game time decision, hopefully the Steel attack heavily features Chris Nanco this week. Nanco was destined to be the 60th minute sub last week, taking that opportunity and bursting through with a goal and a really good chance for an assist later on. Look for Hugh Roberts to drop back to his natural center back position with the departure of Mark McKenzie due to some United States U18 duty. Roberts has played well at center mid in support of James Chambers extended absence, but he should be able to really shine this week. Who fills in at center mid? Great question - as of now it’s a toss up.
Talking to Brendan Burke this week, the Steel FC coach said that this game is kind of a tempo setter for the rest of the season.
Of course the fact that this game is against the very opponent that kept Steel out of the playoffs last year isn’t lost on anyone. Look for Steel to come out firing at home in the Valley and pick up all three points on offer. I’ll put the final score at 3-1.
Thoughts? Comments? Concerns? Have an idea about that vacant center mid spot? Let us know in the comments.