Game: Bethlehem Steel FC vs. Orlando City B
Date: Saturday, May 7th
Time: 7:30 PM
Venue: Titan Soccer Complex (Melbourne, FL)
Referees: REF: JASMINE PERALTA, AR1: Esteban Rosano, AR2: Chris Beaulac, 4TH: Matthew Schwartz
Talking to Brendan Burke for the last half of a year or so, there's a few things that he looks to do as a coach that are becoming apparent. First and foremost, Bethlehem Steel FC want their opposition to adapt to them. Given the make up of the roster and the type of formation they run, Burke's side has been built to play a physical, pressing "blue collar" type of game. We've seen how this can pay off if it works. Montreal the first week was a pretty clinical example of grinding out a win, and although Steel FC will feel a bit unlucky, being undefeated over the course of a three game home stand has them sitting in the middle of the East.
Every week poses a different challenge for the steel trap that is the Bethlehem defense. This weeks contestant on "who wants to try and score?" is Bryan Rochez. Yes, that Bryan Rochez. Orlando City's designated player has been sent to their USL side where he looks to stay on his game and get playing time. Coach Burke stressed that while the overall game plan doesn't really change, there are some nuances that you have to take into account. Rochez is quite the nuance. After joining the Lions from Real C.D. Espana in his native Honduras, Rochez struggled a bit to find his form, playing 16 games with three goals for the first team. He's been capped at every level for Honduras, and to be perfectly honest this is the best player in terms of pedigree that Steel FC have faced outside of their scrimmages against the Union first team.
If there's a back four that can shut down Rochez and OCB's attack however, it's this one. Ryan Richter and company have staved off plenty of great attacking teams this season, and I don't see why that would change come game time. John McCarthy is absolutely proving his worth this season, getting a team of the week nod for his wonderful performance last week against Louisville City. Orlando is also coming off some decently hard games against FC Montreal (1-0 win) and FC Cincinnati (3-1 loss) this week. The lion cubs are a bit undisciplined at home. Over their last four home fixtures, five different OCB players have seen red. Mark Ridgers was sent off last week, so Bethlehem will try and figure out the goal scoring issue against OCB's chosen back up keeper.
Steel FC looked to be pretty close to a goal last game, with Derrick Jones just missing a header over the bar at the death. After their match against Louisville, Burke emphasized getting better movement to the plethora of crosses being sent in by a dangerous looking Walter Restrepo. The service should still be there for Bethlehem in Orlando, but it'll be interesting to see if they can capitalize.
As an aside, Corey Burke is back in training with BSFC but isn't quite ready for the Orlando game, he is set to return to the 18 for the May 15th fixture against FC Montreal.
Unless you're in Orlando, chances are you'll be joining me in watching the game via YouTube here. Follow Brotherly Game on twitter for my weekly non-hostile USL takeover here. I also occasionally talk about team news and other soccer ramblings on my personal twitter here.