Game: Bethlehem Steel FC at Rochester Rhinos
Date: Saturday, May 28
Time: 6:05 PM EDT (10:05 PM UTC)
Venue: Rochester Rhinos Stadium (Rochester, New York)
Referees: REF: BRANDON ARTIS AR1: Sean Regan AR2: Georgios Zervos 4TH: Shawn Cummings
After one of their worst defeats at the hands of Harrisburg City Islanders FC, Brendan Burke's squad will look to respond with a big win against the Rochester Rhinos in upstate New York tonight.
The short week for the first team has lead to some big news out of the USL club - mostly that John McCarthy, who I think really deserves the job, and Cole Missimo who impressed against CIFC, are with the first team. What this means for Steel FC is that we're going to see some debuts. Samir Badr had a great preseason, and will get his first regular season start in USL for the Union affiliate. Missimo's absence might see Seku Conneh get a full 90 on the wing. Paired with Cory Burke at striker, that could be a deadly pairing for Rochester to deal with. Brendan Burke hinted (basically confirmed) that we are going to see a bunch of Union Academy players/USL contracted players who haven't gotten much play. No names were mentioned, but Nick Bibbs comes to mind immediately as someone who should slot into the team nicely, and should be someone to look out for in his first competitive game for Bethlehem. The backline is going to change yet again, but I would love to see Ryan Richter, Auston Trusty, Mickey Daly and Taylor Washington as the four. That has without question been the best pairing of the guys that are currently on Steel FC's roster, as I haven't been sold on Anderson Conceicao in the slightest this year. His marking was almost non existent on Aaron Wheeler, and he looks a bit hesitant on the ball. Make of it what you will, but I am playing a 17 year old who just had prom the other week over a guy who helped get a club promoted to the premier league in Brazil in 2015.
The Rhinos are going to look to take out some frustration at home. Losing a pretty close game in Melbourne, Florida to Orlando City B should see Rochester come out at home swinging for the fences. Christian Volesky is their top goal scorer who hasn't really found the net since hitting a brace a little over a month ago. The 6'1 forward put together a decent college career playing at Denver and SIU before spending a year with FC Tucson. That piqued the interest of Rochester enough to bring him on. Between the sticks, Adam Grinwis has put together a pretty impressive rookie season in the USL. The former Michigan Wolverine had a pretty good college career and did well for the PDL's Michigan Bucks before his time in Rochester. With the Rhinos he has started 6 games and put together a .667 save percentage and a 0.83 goals allowed average.
This should be a really interesting game for both sides. Rochester is another one of those pillars of USL (patent pending) and Bethlehem are going to play guys with a lot to prove who aren't named Fabian Herbers. Follow Brotherly Game for all of your Philly and Bethlehem related soccer news here and follow myself for some musings and other USL shenanigans here.