Match Program: FC Cincinnati at Bethlehem Steel FC

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Design: CSDIV / Image: Ryan Meyer

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On to Bethlehem!

FC Cincinnati will look to rebound away at this historic American steel town. After a disappointing home opener, Alan Koch stated, “Six points out of nine to start the season is certainly not a bad start”. Four weeks ago, I think most realistic Orange & Blue fans would have gladly taken six points at this early stage of the season.

For the third season in a row, FC Cincinnati will be visiting the small confines of Goodman Stadium in April. The Orange and Blue rode two first-half goals by Andrew Wiedeman and Sean Okoli to beat the Steel 2-1 in April 2016. However, a season later, FCC did not fare so well in two April 2017 matches, losing 0-2 and 0-1 within 20 days of each other. Overall, FCC leads the series 3 wins to 2 losses.

Night and day. The Orange and Blue will certainly miss the energy of the recent large Indy crowd and the record 25,667 faithful last weekend at Nippert. They will need to adjust to playing in near silence at Goodman Stadium versus a non-rival opponent. Don’t expect more than 1,500 to 2,000 in attendance Sunday.

As the official USL affiliate (MLS 2) of the Philadelphia Union, the Steel FC thirty-three player roster is full of Union reserves and fluctuates weekly. Steel FC started nine MLS reserves this past weekend in their 1-1 draw at home versus the Battery. In their first four matches, 19 different players have started with 23 seeing the pitch overall. The Steel run-out a similar starting formation as FCC and rely heavily on Brandon Allen, Cory Burke, and Marcus Epps in attack. Also, two key players they missed last week, James Chambers and Brandon Aubrey, will be available for selection.

Fast Facts

Here are your steel cold facts for Sunday’s match.

  • FC Cincinnati has scored 98 goals in all competitive matches since its August 2015 inception. Will the squad match their total production for the season and reach the 100 goal landmark in PA?
  • FCC’s season leaders for passing accuracy in the opponent’s half are Richie Ryan (81.5%), Daniel Haber (80%), and Justin Hoyte (80%). Ryan and Haber also clock in as the top two in passes per 90 minutes played, 63 and 51 passes respectively.
  • The Orange and Blue should have all their players available (minus the improving Tyler Gibson) for Sunday’s match. However, Lance Laing did suffer a knock in training Tuesday. Coming off the Dirty River Derby loss, stay tuned to see if Coach Koch will tinker with this weekend’s line-up.
  • Steel FC have found the back of the net only once in their last three games. They scored four of their five goals in their opening match at home to the Richmond Kickers.
  • Did you know? The original Bethlehem Steel F.C. existed from 1907-1930. They were sponsored by the Bethlehem Steel company and were one of the most successful early American soccer clubs. In 1914, the corporation’s CEO Charles Schwab took the team professional. Until its demise in 1930, the team won eight league championships, six American Cups, and five National Challenge Cups.

Stay tuned to Orange and Blue Press for more coverage leading up to Sunday’s contest.

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