Match: Bethlehem Steel FC vs Charleston Battery
Date: Thursday, May 24th
Time: 11:00 AM kick off. Yeah, 11 o’clock AM. Eastern Daylight Time
Officials: REF- Jonathan Weiner AR1- Jaroslaw Werel AR2- Kevin Lock 4TH- Joshua Encarnacion VAR- Henrik Karlsson
Steel All Time vs Battery (W-L-D): (0-2-1)
Just real quick before I break down the teams, not only is this a incredibly early kickoff (USL is doing this starting today, Wednesday, with a noon kickoff between the Richmond Kickers and Toronto FC II) but it’s also Bethlehem’s Video Assisted Refereeing game, so get ready for our technological overlords to reign supreme after this goes well I guess.
Anyway, let’s talk Charleston.
What the Battery will look like: Charleston did lose two big parts of their Eastern Conference destroying machine in their last fixture against Harrisburg. Forrest Lasso picked up his fifth yellow and as a result will miss the match due to yellow card accumulation and Tah Brian Amung saw two yellows and will serve his one game suspension tomorrow morning as well. That being said, they still have the absolute red hot duo of Romario Williams and Ataulla Guerra. What Charleston should try to do is attempt to make this game a bit of an offensive shootout and hope that they are the last team firing. They’ll have a large hole to fill with Lasso being out, but Justin Portillo might be able to aid in shutting down Seku Conneh and Cory Burke.
What Steel will look like: After a learning experience in a very damp Cincy game, Steel have a big chance to pick up crucial points on a three game home stand. Bethlehem got a nice gift from Harrisburg who drew Amung and Lasso into cards. Bethlehem have a ton of pace and the ability to switch up looks pretty easily. Cory Burke can do the holding play that mimics CJ Sapong where as Chris Nanco, Seku Conneh, Marcus Epps can benefit from those knock down balls. Also Steel have the added benefit of the passing of James Chambers every week. I’ve said just about everything I can about the veteran Irishman but his ability to pick about any pass out might leave Charleston’s back line on a swivel. Bethlehem saw that Harrisburg got out in front of the Battery early on and if Steel’s defense can keep Charleston’s playmakers in check, they might be able to grind out a Toronto type win.
Predictions: This could end up being a pretty high scoring affair, once the two teams wake up after the first half hour or so. If Conneh and Nanco can open up the back line of Charleston and strike early on, they might be able to hold off Charleston. 3-1 in favor of Bethlehem would be a massive scoreline and result for Steel.