Bethlehem Steel FC (@1.75) vs Swope Park Rangers (@4.0)
02-09-2019

Our Prediction:

Bethlehem Steel FC will win

Bethlehem Steel FC – Swope Park Rangers Match Prediction | 02-09-2019 18:00

The 3-2 final favored the Legion as both teams finished with nine men. Despite Birmingham grabbing the late goal to win in the 76th minute, the Steel saw some positives from the match, including their attack getting things going again with two goals. This time out, Brendan Burke's club will look to combine that attacking momentum with increased defensive focus. It was a wild match at Talen Energy Stadium last weekend as the Steel hosted expansion side Birmingham Legion FC.

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The Rangers are very technical and strategic about when they push up the field, often catching the opposing defenses out and getting behind the last line with incisive forward passing. It will take a complete team effort defensively to keep Swope Park off the board in this match. Bethlehem Steel FC knows Swope Park likes to build out of the back and use as much of the pitch as possible to spread out their opponents.

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The 2018 USL season will be contested by 33 teams, 16 of which compete in the league's Eastern Conference. At the conclusion of the regular season, the top eight (8) teams from each conference advance to the 2018 USL Playoffs for a chance to compete for the USL Championship Title. All teams will play a regular season total of 34 matches between teams within their respective conference.

Theyre big [and] play wide open in a 4-3-3, similar to their First Team, theyre good passers and committed to playing out of the back and when they catch you the field is wide open, said Steel Head Coach Brendan Burke. So you have to decide if you want to sit and compact the field, if you want to press and try to generate turnovers, but whatever you do youd better be very aware of the size that they build with. Its very similar to the way that we used to play, which makes it, not easy to prepare for, but easier.

The last time Steel and Swope Park met was a wild 4-3 win for the Steel at Children's Mercy Park, with Philadelphia Union's Sergio Santos notching the game-winner in the third minute of stoppage time. The Rangers' style is more wide open and technical than the teams the Steel have played in the last few weeks, so this one looks to be an exciting affair with a lot of space on the field for both sides to operate. Although Swope Park is in a rough run of form right now, 0-5-0 in their last five matches, and will be missing a few key pieces of their own (Head Coach Paulo Nagamura and midfielder Alexsander Andrade), they can be bolstered at any time by reinforcements from the Sporting Kansas City first team. Steel FC will be without Santos this time around since, along with Faris, he received a red card last weekend.

The match is a crucial one for the Steel, as the club needs points to stay in the 2019 USL Cup playoff race and they'll need players step up while Faris serves his red card suspension. - Bethlehem Steel FC (6-13-5, 13th place in East) comes off the bye week and hosts 2019 USL Championship Eastern Conference side Swope Park Rangers (3-14-6, 18th place in East) at Talen Energy Stadium this Sunday at 6:00 p.m. ET. CHESTER, Pa.

Union goalkeeper Carlos Miguel Coronel saved his second penalty-kick attempt in as many matches for Steel FC, parrying away the shot from the Riverhounds Kevin Kerr in the second minute of first-half stoppage time. The match also saw Philadelphia Union defender Matt Real return to the starting XI for the Steel, following a break for international duty with the United States U20 Mens National Team. Steel FC midfielder Michee Ngalina and forward Faris got off the mark and opened their 2019 USL Championship scoring accounts in the match, with Faris scoring in the 21st minute and Ngalina notching a 36th-minute screamer. Steel FC comes into this match following a 2-2 draw in the clubs final match of a three-match home-stand to Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC this past Saturday. Coronel recorded five saves in the match, bringing his total to 13 on the year.

What can I do?

I think thats key to this system and style of play. We did a good job of that, for the most part, after those first five or 10 minutes of the Pittsburgh [Riverhounds] game; we did a pretty good job of that throughout. I think getting everyone behind the ball is important, Burke stated when asked how to defend the Rangers when they get forward.

Steel FC will be without Santos this time around since, along with Faris, he received a red card last weekend. The Rangers style is more wide open and technical than the teams the Steel have played in the last few weeks, so this one looks to be an exciting affair with a lot of space on the field for both sides to operate. The last time Steel and Swope Park met was a wild 4-3 win for the Steel at Childrens Mercy Park, with Philadelphia Unions Sergio Santos notching the game-winner in the third minute of stoppage time. Although Swope Park is in a rough run of form right now, 0-5-0 in their last five matches, and will be missing a few key pieces of their own (Head Coach Paulo Nagamura and midfielder Alexsander Andrade), they can be bolstered at any time by reinforcements from the Sporting Kansas City first team.

The 2019 USL Championship regular season will be Swope Parks first in the Leagues Eastern Conference. Steel FC comes into the match with a 1-2-1 record through four matches. Steel FC and Swope Park Rangers have not previously played each other. Burkes squad will now have to transition their mindset from defending a tall, physical team in the Riverhounds to defending a quick, technical, strategic attack from Swope Park. The Rangers currently sit on a 0-1-1 record after two matches; with a 3-1 loss at the hands of New York Red Bulls II to start the season and a 2-2 draw at home to Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC.