Match Preview: Bethlehem Steel FC Travels to Take on Tampa Bay Rowdies
CHESTER, Pa. - Bethlehem Steel FC (8-14-6, 12th place in East) showed a lot of strength and attacking power in its last match, a 5-2 comeback win over Loudoun United FC at home. The Boys in Blue tallied four times in the second half, the most in club history, en route to their highest goal total since the modern-era founding in 2016. The Steel are now set for a tough road test against the Tampa Bay Rowdies (15-6-8, 4th place in East) at Al Lang Stadium tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET. Coming off short rest from their 5-2 win on Wednesday night, the Steel will need to carry forward that momentum and energy against a strong Rowdies side.
The Boys in Blue continued their recent strong run of form, 2-1-1 in their last four matches, with a 5-2 home win over Loudoun United at Talen Energy Stadium on Wednesday. Philadelphia Union forward Michee Ngalina and the rest of the Steel goalscorers from Wednesday will look to maintain their recent form, even though team captain James Chambers will be suspended due to yellow-card accumulation. The Rowdies are one of four sides in the Eastern Conference that have clinched a spot in the USL Championship Playoffs, but they've gone 2-2-1 in their last five matches. That stretch includes a loss to Nashville SC and a draw to Atlanta United 2 that both came at Al Lang Stadium, a fortress for the Florida side earlier this year. With Tampa Bay starting to show some faltering in their form, this could be the chance the Steel need to take a result from this match. Even with their current form the Rowdies are ever dangerous and the Steel need to give everything they have this weekend.
It was a 2-1 win for the Rowdies up at Goodman Stadium last time the two sides met on June 22. Both Juan Tejada and Sebastián Guenzatti scored for Tampa Bay, while team captain James Chambers hit the penalty for the Steel in the first minute of second-half stoppage time. Although it was 2-1, Steel FC had opportunities to equalize in the last few minutes of added time, but former Philadelphia Union goalkeeper John McCarthy stood strong in net for the Rowdies. It'll be a tough task for the Steel attack to get anything past McCarthy, as he continues to have one of the best seasons of his career, especially with the absence of Chambers. Tampa Bay away is a daunting test at the end of the season, but the Steel have given strong teams a scare down the stretch and will look to do the same this weekend.
The Boys in Blue face off against Tampa Bay Rowdies at Al Lang Stadium on Saturday, September 21, at 7:30 p.m. ET. Fans can catch all the action live on ESPN+.
2019 USL Championship Regular Season
Date: September 21, 2019
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Al Lang Stadium, St. Petersburg, Fla.
Referee: Elvis Osmanovic
Assistant Referees: Nick Balcer; Justin Howard
Fourth Official: Alyssa Nichols
Bethlehem Steel FC: 8-14-6, 12th place
Tampa Bay Rowdies: 15-6-8, 4th place
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