Match: Bethlehem Steel FC vs New York Red Bulls II
Date: Sunday, July 9th
Time: 5:00pm Eastern, 4:00 pm Central, 2:00 pm Pacific, 9:00 pm UTC
Venue: Murray H Goodman Stadium, Lehigh University (Bethlehem, Pa.)
Refs: REF: Gustavo Solorio AR1: Melvin Holmes II AR2: Brian DiPaolo 4TH: Bernard Shumbusho
Steel All Time v NYRBII (W-L-D): 1-3-0
What NYRBII Will Look Like: If you’ve seen this team play, or even if you’ve only seen the Red Bull first team, you know what this will be. That being said, to hone in on some talking points before the game Sunday. Since Adam Najem’s smackdown gave Red Bull a loss in the middle of June, the Baby Bulls have responded with a draw away against Ottawa and a win at home against Saint Louis. The reigning USL champs aren’t lacking in offensive firepower. The French connection of Vincent Bezecourt and Florian Valot pull the strings in the midfield, with 9 assists between the two of them. In terms of goals scored, Brandon Allen has been dangerous for his side, banging in nine goals in 14 appearances. Red Bull proper have been starved for goals at times, so it’ll be interesting to see who is available for RBII this weekend. Ryan Meara is mostly stationed behind Luis Robles these days, with Evan Louro defending the Baby Bulls net. Louro has been solid, but we’ve seen Steel score on him before. This game is going to come down to ability to assert your play style and RB II think they have the tools to get that done.
What Steel should look like: Well, after a very poorly officiated game, that could’ve been different with some better finishing early on, Bethlehem are looking to keep momentum up against a big opponent. Cory Burke is suspended for the next two games (he’ll serve those while with the Jamaica National Team) and Hugh Roberts is out for the next match as well after a very soft red. Seku Conneh is also a solid maybe for this weekend’s fixture, so expect some changes. On the positive front, James Chambers is back from a non-injury related trip to Ireland so he’ll be amped up to go out and play football. I’d also expect to see a good bit of Chris Nanco and Santi Moar this weekend in lieu of Burke, with all of my hopes and dreams put into Adam Najem suiting up against his former club. With Bethlehem’s solid six game unbeaten streak, and Red Bull II’s spotty record away from home, Bethlehem want to really open up some space between the two clubs.
Prediction: I have this at 2-1 in favor of Bethlehem. I’ll totally be wrong so there’s that.