Match Preview: Bethlehem Steel FC Hosts Memphis 901 FC in First Meeting Between Clubs
CHESTER, Pa. - Bethlehem Steel FC will host Memphis 901 FC in the club's second home match of the 2019 USL Championship regular season. The match will kickoff at 6:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 24 at Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, Pa. The match will be broadcast on ESPN+.
Steel FC comes into this match following a 0-1 loss in the club's 2019 home-opener to North Carolina FC this past weekend. North Carolina got the better of the Steel, who gave three Philadelphia Union Academy players their first professional starts and brought on Patrick Bohui as a second-half substitute, making him the youngest player all-time to appear for Bethlehem Steel FC at 15 years, three months and 13 days old when he appeared. With all that in mind, Steel FC recognizes its successes and failures from this past match and is now ready to turn its attention towards Memphis.
"To see Patrick [Bohui] come on at his age and fit in pretty well to the game was a really encouraging sign. I mentioned a couple other guys after the game, but I forgot to mention Patrick," said Burke. "To be pushing the way that he is and at his age is just fantastic, with still a long, long way to go. I'm happy for all of those guys that were able to make their debut. That said, I do believe that [North] Carolina was a very beatable team so it's disappointing to not be able to throw a little more at them on the day, but the reality is that we have to turn our focus to Memphis this weekend and who in a lot of ways I think could even be a stronger team in terms of personnel; a very dangerous game for us this weekend."
Steel FC knows that Memphis 901 FC's record (0-1-1) doesn't reflect how strong of a team they are. This is a Memphis team that has allowed two goals so far this season, with only one goal being allowed through the run of play. What currently stands at one point on the season could have easily been four. Most of this is thanks to their strong and that is not lost on Head Coach Brendan Burke.
"I think they've been good. I don't think they've sat back too much," noted Burke. "I think they've got good athleticism throughout the team and I think they're a committed group, certainly defensively, but they'll take their pressure a little higher up the field. I'm interested to see how they respond on the road. I've only seen two home games, that's all that we've been able to evaluate with them. Obviously the energy in that building is fantastic and you can see it on film. There's a little extra juice in all the players. We have to be prepared for a very physical, athletic battle over the weekend."
Bethlehem Steel FC and Memphis 901 FC have not previously met in regular-season play, with Memphis being a 2019 USL Championship expansion team. Memphis has established itself as an aggressive and stalwart defense that causes issues for opposing attacks. The Steel know that maintaining their style of play will be critical in creating chances against 901 FC.
"I think if we are successful in executing our own game plan again, having a forward-first mentality and getting in to the areas that we've identified in the field from early in preseason then I think we'll be in good shape. Doing that is always harder than planning for it," Burke stated when asked how to break down Memphis' defense.
2019 USL Championship Regular Season
Date: March 24, 2019
Kickoff: 6:00 p.m. ET
Location: Talen Energy Stadium, Chester, Pa.
Bethlehem Steel FC: 1-1-0
Memphis 901 FC: 0-1-1
Match Day Twitter: @BSteelFC
Game Day Hashtag: #BSTvMEM
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