Match Preview: Bethlehem Steel FC Travels to Face Atlanta United 2
CHESTER, Pa. - Bethlehem Steel FC (8-17-6, 16th place in East) fought hard in their last match, a 2-1 loss to Charlotte Independence in the club's 2019 home finale, but couldn't bury enough chances to take a result. The Boys in Blue now travel to take on Atlanta United 2 (8-16-8, 13th place in East) at Fifth Third Bank Stadium this Wednesday, October 9, at 7:30 p.m. ET. Both teams have already been eliminated from 2019 USL Championship Playoffs contention, but the Steel and Atlanta can still affect where other teams fall in the final standings and create chaos for other teams' playoff chances with strong performances.
The Boys in Blue fought hard over the weekend in their 2019 home finale, but missed chances late against 10-man Charlotte Independence and fell 2-1. With a mid-week match against Atlanta United 2 coming up fast, the Steel don't have time to dwell on their latest match. Atlanta has picked up some recent results, going 3-0-3 in their last six matches, including two upset wins over Ottawa Fury FC and second-placed Indy Eleven. The Georgia side has picked up draws against Saint Louis FC, the Tampa Bay Rowdies and probably the hottest team in the Eastern Conference right now in Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC. Atlanta United 2 may be eliminated from the playoffs, but they are still a team that shouldn't be messed with.
With three matches left to play this season and two against teams that have yet to secure their playoff berths, the Steel can still throw their weight around in the Eastern Conference standings. As Head Coach Brendan Burke has said over the last few weeks, the team owes it to the rest of the league to give every game their all and play as if they can still make the playoffs.
It was a 1-1 level draw between Steel FC and Atlanta at Talen Energy Stadium the last time the two sides met on May 12 earlier this year. Both teams saw offensive production from their center backs, with Lawrence Wyke from Atlanta and Jamoi Topey for the Steel both adding their names to the scoresheet. Wyke is set to serve a suspension this week for yellow-card accumulation, so he won't be featuring for Atlanta United 2 in this matchup. It's also worth noting that in this battle between MLS-affiliated teams, both parent clubs are gearing up for 2019 Audi MLS Cup Playoff runs that start in a couple weeks. With that in mind, it's possible that neither side receives very many first-team players for this one, leaving it to be a battle between the future of each franchise.
Bethlehem Steel FC takes on Atlanta United 2 in a mid-week matchup on Wednesday, October 9, at 7:30 p.m. ET from Fifth Third Bank Stadium. Fans can catch all the mid-week action live on ESPN+.
2019 USL Championship Regular Season
Date: October 9, 2019
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Fifth Third Bank Stadium, Kennesaw, Ga.
Referee: Malik Badawi
Assistant Referees: Austin Holt; Kyle Johnston
Fourth Official: Chris Copeland
Bethlehem Steel FC: 8-17-6, 16th place
Atlanta United 2: 8-16-8, 13th place
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