With seven goals scored in its last two matches, Bethlehem Steel FC looks to continue its momentum in a mid-week contest against the Charlotte Independence on Wednesday, August 8. Kick off from the Sportsplex at Matthews is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN+.
Steel FC began its four-match in 13 days slate in August with a resounding 3-0 shutout of the Richmond Kickers on Saturday. In the match that saw the club pick up just its second three-game sweep of an opponent in franchise history, Steel FC’s offense came alive in the final 45 minutes with three goals. Santi Moar became the founding member of the 10-10 club on the team’s first goal, scoring his 10th career goal while Omar Holness and Michee Ngalina added insurance goals. Defensively, Steel FC picked up its third clean sheet of the season as Philadelphia Union goalkeeper Jake McGuire made five saves for his first shutout of the year.
“Pleased with the win at Richmond, obviously it was really important for us to get points out of this road trip and now we’ve done that,” Bethlehem Steel FC head coach Brendan Burke said. “We were sharp in front of goal and could have been a little sharper because there could have been four or five goals in that game for us.”
Wednesday’s contest is the second and final regular-season meeting between Steel FC and Charlotte. While the all-time series is tied at 2-2-1, Steel FC seeks to build off its 4-1 victory at Goodman Stadium back on June 30. Tying a franchise record for goals scored, Chris Nanco opened the scoring while Moar, Drew Skundrich and Fabian Herbers added second-half strikes to round out the scoring.
“You’re going to need clean sheets here in the last number of games to get results because they are going to get tighter and tighter,” Burke said. “We are playing a lot of teams around the line and each one of these games, you don’t want to say this early in the season, become a playoff game because there are so many teams in and around the line right now.”
Sitting two points behind Steel FC on the Eastern Conference Table, Charlotte has claimed just four points in their last six contests. During that stretch, the Independence has been outscored by a 13-5 margin and haven’t scored more than once in a single match since June 27. Charlotte is coming off a 1-1 draw on July 28 against Penn FC, in which Eamon Zayed opening the scoring but Penn FC responded eight minutes later for the draw.
“They are all playoff games on the run in, this one obviously is too,” Burke said. “They can hurt you going forward, they’ve only lost one game at home. The stakes are high but we understand that we’re going to have other opportunities after this game so I want everyone to remain level-headed about it. If things don’t go perfectly, it’s not the end of the line but it is a big opportunity to shut them down at home and try to come away with a point.”