Bethlehem Steel FC will look to continue their winning ways against their biggest rival when the club welcomes New York Red Bulls II on Wednesday, May 16. Kick off from Goodman Stadium on the campus of Lehigh University is scheduled for 5 p.m. and will be available locally on Service Electric and streamed on ESPN+.
The midweek match comes in the middle of a busy May schedule that sees Steel FC play three matches in eight days. The trip began last weekend in South Carolina with a 2-1 loss to the Charleston Battery. Despite holding the Battery to just two shots on net, the hosts made the most of their opportunities to claim all three points. Philadelphia Union midfielder Derrick Jones converted from the penalty spot for his second goal of 2018.
“If it wasn’t for their keeper in the first half, I think we would have been up multiple goals so you have to be happy with the effort,” Bethlehem Steel FC head coach Brendan Burke said. “As for the performance, the unfortunate part is that they had two shots on goal and two goals. We have to be a little more stout in our defending but the reality is carried most of the game.”
Wednesday’s match will be the sixth all-time meeting between the two rivals with New York Red Bulls II holding a slight 3-2-0 advantage. Despite trailing in the series, Steel FC swept the rivalry last season with matching 2-0 clean sheet performances by goalkeeper Jake McGuire. Offensively, former Red Bulls’ product Adam Najem scored a goal and set up two assists in the contests last year.
"We know each other well from the past couple years and the style of play, even if the system changes from time to time, is very similar,” Burke said. “We can prepare well and just have to hope we bring the right kind of energy to the game on Wednesday. I think it naturally ratchets up a little bit. We met the challenge last year, the first year we didn’t so that was the clear difference for me.”
New York enters the contest riding a seven-match unbeaten streak but haven’t claimed all three points in the past month when they defeated the Tampa Bay Rowdies, 5-0. In their last four contests, all draws, the Eastern Conference’s top offense has only scored two goals. Brian White leads the club with four goals in nine appearances while Amando Moreno and Andrew Tinari have added three goals each.