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Match preview: Richmond Kickers vs. Bethlehem Steel FC

Local flavor sets up Steel against Richmond the second time around

Pat Jacoby Photography

Match: Richmond Kickers vs. Bethlehem Steel FC

Date: July 22nd, 2017

Time: 7:45 p.m. Eastern, 6:45 p.m. Central, 4:45 p.m. Pacific, 11:45 p.m. UTC (Pushed back 45 minutes due to excessive heat warning)

Refs: REF: Danielle Chesky AR1: Jeffrey Skinner AR2: Jonah Kind 4TH: Ningwei Li

Stream:

Steel all time vs Richmond(W-L-T) : 1-0-2

What Richmond should look like:
Since we last saw the Kickers, not a whole lot has changed. In between our last look at Richmond (July 1) they’ve played Cincinnati FC (2-0 loss) and the Harrisburg City Islanders (1-0 loss), as well as a friendly against Swansea City (2-1 loss). Really this isn’t even about the losing streak, Harrisburg has been really hot lately, and a friendly against Swansea was more about drawing fans and saying that you did it. However, that’s three games in a week and a half. Richmond isn’t a horribly deep team (more on that in a second), so one has to wonder about their legs coming into a league match a few days after a friendly.

Speaking of being a deep squad, Richmond did in fact sign a local (Pennsylvania local) to their roster recently. Oscar Umar, a Ghanaian who played for Villanova University and more recently West Chester United SC, signed for Richmond recently and made his debut against Harrisburg. Umar actually trialed with both Richmond and Bethlehem, so Richmond really won’t get much of an advantage in terms of Steel not knowing what to expect. If you want the full rundown, our Matt Ralph talked about it shortly after it happened here.

What Bethlehem should look like:
After a gritty, spirited 1-1 draw against the Riverhounds that saw Steel play a bunch of Philadelphia Union Academy players, Bethlehem should be a full strength for the potential organizational-best ninth game unbeaten. Look for Hugh Roberts, who is visiting City Stadium for the first time as a visitor. Hugh got snapped up by Bethlehem as a veteran rock in the back, and he’s been just as good as advertised. Sure it’ll be a bit of a case of “Hugh in Wonderland” (sorry, had to), but if Roberts can settle in, Richmond won’t get many looks at goal.

Speaking of, it’ll be interesting to see who plays goalkeeper this week. Obviously Jake McGuire has put in a Goalkeeper of the Year type season, but with Tomas Romero playing a solid game last week, will Coach Burke stick with the hot hand or go with the reliable workhorse? From there Cory Burke is still out, with Jamaica playing Mexico tomorrow night at 9:00 p.m. Eastern. What that means for the attack is probably this - Seku Conneh is listed as questionable with an MCL strain, but I would wager we see him in some form in Richmond tonight. Chris Nanco will slide out wide, and Santi Moar, who had a groin injury of some sort but isn’t listed on the report, goes out left.

Also expect the youngster Anthony Fontana to make a return to USL action as a member of the Philadelphia Union (kind of). Font’s been damn close to a goal in his last two USL games or so and I think James Chambers tees him up for one in Richmond.

Evan! Predict this!: Okay okay, fine, Steel get out of Richmond unscathed and pick up a big win, I’ll go 2-0.