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March to the PLAYOFF MATCH: Bethlehem Steel


Bethlehem Steel, 8 seed, 1-0-1 head to head


A Round One USL Cup Playoff match


Friday, October 20, 2017, 7:30 p.m.


Louisville Slugger Field, 401 E. Main Street, Louisville, KY 40202


AT THE GAME. NO EXCUSES! But if you have a reeeeeaaaalllllyyyy good excuse anyway, you can still watch it on YouTube, WMYO-58, and listen to the dulcet tones of Jeff Milby and maybe some other guy on 1080 WKJK.


As always, the lot on Preston Street is host to the LouCity Tailgaters, the Black Sheep, City Dads (worst name for a group of nice guys I could imagine), and various and sundry other groups. The Coopers and the Groove Machine will march a little after 7. GET IN THERE.


First, I didn’t do a STATCAP for the Kickers game, and I’m sorry. There isn’t a lot to really talk about from a numbers perspective. Richmond is pretty bad, and City unsurprisingly punished them after they went down a man. Unsurprising result is unsurprising.

NOW, on to the Steel. Bethlehem aren’t sneaky good, they’re just good. It took a fortuitous Oscar strike to get a draw out of the Steel at Slugger last month. They work hard in midfield and will probably game-plan to hit City on a counter-attack. None of that is particularly unusual. What remains to be seen is if James O’Connor has devised a strategy to limit those kinds of opportunities.

From a LouCity perspective, it looks like just about the entire roster will be available. I expect Luke Spencer to start at forward if only to keep the Steel centerbacks busy. Bethlehem usually likes to play a back four, so how Oscar and Kyle Smith are used on the wings is also crucial. The extra Steel defender makes crossing from the wings difficult, so the plan will likely be to get to the byline and find another attacker near the corner of the box to create chances.

There’s never much of a point in trying to pick lineups for these matches, but I will say I think starting Speedy Williams in the midfield is crucial. Midfield turnovers are Bethlehem’s bread and butter, and limiting those is going to be important.