A few things have changed since the Steel went to Birmingham and handed the first-year USL Championship team a 2-0 loss in their first ever game.
Kacper Przybylko, who started and scored a goal for the visitors that day, leads the Union in goals with 12 and the Legion have added experience and are climbing the standings toward the playoff line.
“They’ve added even more experience to an already experienced group and that has been important to them and they’ve obviously locked things down defensively,” Steel FC head coach Brendan Burke said. “I think they have six clean sheets in a row coming into this game and that’s not lost on us.”
Scoring has been a challenge for the Steel in recent weeks with just one goal in their last four games, but a week off has given the team much needed rest and the injury bug that’s hit the team hard appears to be in the rearview mirror.
Leading goal-scorer Faris returned in their scoreless draw against Nashville for his first action since July 10 and first team attacker Michee Ngalina played his first minutes since June 15.
“This will be one of the first times that we’ve had the luxury of having to pick an 18,” Burke said. “We’ve gone most games this year with 16 or 17 players if we’re lucky.”
Holding third-place Nashville to a scoreless draw their last time out was proof that despite being six points below the playoff line in the Eastern Conference, the Steel may have a role yet to play in the final stretch of the season. Recent signing Todd Morton recorded his clean sheet in just his second professional start in Nashville and was helped out by an acrobatic goal-line clearance by Walter Cortes to preserve the clean sheet.
“I was glad for (Todd Morton) to get the recognition in the Nashville game and I thought he handled himself really well in the game,” Burke said. “I didn’t think he had too much to do in the first half; in the second half he had more to do. He was strong and confident, his handling was good, he stuck to the game plan which is always important. Impressive for his second start to be away from home against the hottest team in the league and get something out of it.”
Eleven games remain for the Steel, four at home and seven on the road.
“(Birmingham is) pretty even with us in the standings, so it’s really important for how we’re going to do at the end of the year, but honestly every game that we’re playing now is a playoff game,” midfielder Zach Zandi said. “That’s the attitude that we have to have, so every one is important.”
How to Watch
Where: Talen Energy Stadium, Chester, Pennsylvania
When: 6 p.m. ET, Sunday, August 25, 2019
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