Match: Charlotte Independence vs Bethlehem Steel FC
Date: Wednesday, August 16th
Time: 7:00 p.m. Eastern, 6:00 p.m. Central, 4:00 p.m. Pacific, 11:00 p.m. UTC
Venue: Sportsplex at Matthews (yes, really)
Refs: REF: Ismir Pekvic AR1: Howard Ash AR2: Olivia Urig 4TH: Eric Barnes
Stream: Due to Game of the Week status, ESPN 3 and the WatchESPN app live is it. USL will post the full match later in the week though, so, hooray? I’ll be live tweeting as usual so, if you cant/don’t have ESPN I got you.
Anyway, the game.
What Charlotte should look like:
Let’s be honest here, not much is going to change in about a month. Really the only thing that sticks out is that Charlotte is now the number one team in the East. Also, I’d normally point out a draw against a horrid Toronto FC II and a loss against the Ottawa Fury as a sign of poor form but after a 12 game unbeaten streak, that’s kind of a moot point. It also seems like every team that holds the top spot loses so let’s grade on a curve.
Off the back of Lewis Hilton, Jorge Herrera, and Alex Martinez the Jacks rolled into Bethlehem, scored a bunch and left. This time around, they’ll look for more of the same on the offensive side of things, but their defense is going to have to be sharp. Bilal Duckett will anchor the backline with Callum Ross looking to play destroyer. They won’t have to worry about Cory Burke after yellow card accumulation, and they should be feeling fortunate for that.
What Steel should look like:
Well, hopefully better then the last effort against this club at home a few weeks ago. That being said with two wins in the last two weeks over Ottawa and Toronto, Steel have looked ready for a bigger challenge. They’ll get one as it is anyway with a tough road test against Charlotte but Steel will be missing Cory Burke. Burke had one of his best games against Toronto last weekend, but a yellow card for a late contest of a 50/50 ball in the first half means he’ll miss the match due to accumulation. Enter Seku Conneh. He’s been out the last few weeks (injury, personal reasons, and presumably rest for this game) but will be raring to go Wednesday night. Joining him in the attack is an absolutely smoldering hot Chris Nanco and a sharp looking Santi Moar. James Chambers only needed two touches to have a big impact on the last game, and I’d imagine he gets some more against the Jacks.
This also should be a decent chance for Steel to get a run out for some of the guys that aren’t getting as many minutes. Chris Wingate is a solid professional who can play some good passes and put in a few quality tackles. He might plug in next to Chambers with the young god Anthony Fontana getting a good experience in a big game on the road. Bethlehem has a clean bill of health and I’m usually wrong when I throw names around so to cover ground, Josh Heard should probably see some time in this game too. He comes in, slows a game down and runs like hell for as long as he’s out.
Predictions: I’ll take a draw all day long here. 2-2.