Steel FC look to advance to the semifinals of USL playoffs vs second seed Louisville City FC

Bethlehem Steel FC look to continue their quest to #SteelTheCup as they head to second seed Louisville City FC. Bethlehem has already beaten a higher seeded team. They’ll have to do it again against the team that knocked them out of the playoffs last season.

Louisville was the team that bounced Bethlehem out of the USL playoffs in the first round of the playoffs in 2017. a four-to-zero thrashing halted any idea of Bethlehem making a run for a cup last year. In the 2018 regular season, Louisville City FC reminded Bethlehem FC that they knocked them out last season.

An Ominous task:

In the two matches these two teams played in the 2018 regular season, Louisville won on their home turf, while Steel FC held Louisville to a scoreless draw at Goodman Stadium. At Louisville City FC early in the 2018 season, Bethlehem went down 3-0 in the first half. They scraped a goal back just before half time, but were not able to come back in the second half. The return fixture came in June in Bethlehem. Both teams battled but neither were able to find a goal.

Louisville City FC has dominated Steel FC in their three years of existence; winning four and drawing 3 of the matches. Bethlehem have never beaten Louisville, and have a poor record at Louisville Slugger Field. Steel FC have never taken points from Louisville in Louisville. There’s a first time for everything right? Bethlehem will look for its first win in Louisville against some familiar faces.

Louisville City FC are a familiar foe:

After Steel FC played both its regular season matches against Louisville City FC, they went through a coaching change. James O’Connor left Louisville for the opportunity to coach MLS’ Orlando City SC. The replacement for O’Connor is one that is close to Steel FC’s parent club Philadelphia Union. John Hackworth was with the Philadelphia Union for four years, as an assistant coach(2010-2012), and as the head coach (2012-2014). Hackworth has done well since becoming Louisville’s manager. The team has resurged under his leading, they have a 9-2-3 record since Hack’s appointment. Hackworth is not the only person that has familiarity with Bethlehem.

At the end of September, Louisville hired Danny Cruz as an assistant coach. Cruz was a Philadelphia Union player from 2012-2015. His connection with Hackworth, coupled with the grittiness he possessed as a player make him a spectacular coaching prospect. They will be prepared for their first ever meeting against Steel FC as the quote states above. Both are familiar with Bethlehem Steel Coach Brendan Burke.

Burke was an assistant coach at Philadelphia under Hackworth, when Cruz was playing. This match is setting up the classic master versus apartness matchup. Can Burke’s Steel FC beat Hackworth’s Louisville City FC? Bethlehem’s players are certainly full of confidence and ready to give it a go!

Steel FC’s Confidence and momentum:

Bethlehem Captain James Chambers talked about Steel FC’s season goals this week. Bethlehem’s goal in 2018 was to finish higher than they did last season, check, and win a their first ever playoff game, check. Now that Steel FC hae accomplished their season goals, they are ready to defy all expectations and continue their playoff run.

Chamber’s mentioned how they are not satisfied in just accomplishing the teams goals. He said the team is hungry, and ready to get revenge agaisnt the team that eliminated them from the playoffs in 2017. This team is flying high, after beating a top three team in USL’s Eastern Conference, in Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC. Bethlehem are poised to  be the underdog that punches above their weight. two-seed Louisville stand in their way of the USL semifinals where they would wither face four-seed New York Red Bulls II, or one-seed Cincinnati FC.

Let’s see how high this team can fly!

Louisville City FC vs Bethlehem Steel FC October 26th @ 7:30 PM

This match has the makings of a fun one! Be sure to catch the game tonight on ESPN+. Steel FC will try to defy the odds and make it to the semifinals of the 2018 USL Playoffs.

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Peace out Union fans!

Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union.