Match: Bethlehem Steel FC vs Richmond Kickers
Date: Saturday, July 1st
Time: 5:00 EST 4:00 CST 3:00 MST 2:00 PST
Venue: Goodman Stadium, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA
Steel All Time vs. Richmond (W-L-D): 1-0-1
How Richmond will look: The Kickers are having a bit of an identity crisis. Known for being stingy to break down on the field and having a ridiculous history of making the USL playoffs consistently for the last 15 years, Richmond seems to have lost the plot. Losing Hugh Roberts to Steel didn’t help this, and neither did the loss of their creative force Brian Ownby, who was sent to Louisville City. The Kickers currently sit in 14th place in the East, with only two wins as well as five draws to their credit. They’ve also only grabbed two points out of a possible eighteen on the road, with draws against fellow basement occupant Toronto FC II as well as a respectable draw against Rochester in New York. Not that Richmond can’t turn things around this year, but it doesn’t necessarily strike fear into the hearts of opposition when you have been shut out in nine out of fifteen games. Richmond needs to find offense outside of Connor Shanosky and they need to do it fast.
What Steel will look like: Bethlehem put together the most comprehensive June in the league. Taking two draws to start out the month, Steel went on a three game winning streak. Wins away to Saint Louis, New York Red Bulls II, and Harrisburg saw Steel rocket up the standings as they currently sit in fourth place in the East. July looks like a good chance for Bethlehem to really assert themselves as a major player in the conference this year, with a big three game home stand to open. Steel should be about at full strength for Richmond, with Brendan Burke saying that no one came out of the Soccer Night in PA any worse for wear. Especially on a huge run of form, expect Steel to try and put the pedal to the floor and get a big result this weekend. Hugh Roberts should get the start against his former team, and besides wanting to beat your former club, Hugh’s insight into how the Kickers work has apparently been huge for Steel. Expect Cory Burke to prove well, as he seems to find his form in the league right before leaving for International Duty with Jamaica.
Bethlehem lock it down and snag a 3-0 victory to keep the good vibes going.