Last week’s loss in Charlotte was a kick in the teeth for the Battery, who had gone their first three games unbeaten. But coach Mike Anhaeuser will look to use the second half to build on, where the Battery scored two goals and nearly stole something at the end, rather than dwelling on a near disastrous first 45.
It’s the first meeting between the two sides, as Bethlehem Steel are part of the Philadelphia Union family, being their USL expansion side. The Steel have themselves a Battery connection however, with Ryan Richter, part of the 2012 league-winning side, captain of his new team in his first season after time spent with Ottawa Fury of the NASL.
The Steel have a few other players with USL and NASL experience, Walter Restrepo and Leo Fernandes were major parts of the New York Cosmos charge to the NASL title last year, while John McCarthy once plied his trade at Rochester before moving to the Union last year and making a handful of appearances. Fabian Herbers is of Generation Adidas stock and played for the Union before the USL season started. Eric Ayuk is another player to be aware of, an attacking midfielder from Cameroon.
The Battery will hope to put behind them a game which was as much ruled by mistakes than anything else. All three of the goals conceded were down to lapses by the Battery’s usual staunch defense. A penalty given away by Shawn Ferguson was perhaps the kick in the teeth, which gave the Battery a mountain to climb at the end of the first half. A goal from Romario Williams, who himself has been in decent form, and a late penalty of their own converted by Justin Portillo gave the Battery hope, but by which time the Independence had been three goals up before the comeback started, and with ten men after the sending off of Zach Prince, the Battery fell just short.
Prince, serving the first of a two game ban, will be unavailable for the Black and Yellow, as well as center forward Heviel Cordoves, who has a neck problem. The good news being that Maikel Chang and Ricky Garbanzo, who both missed the trip to Charlotte, were back in full training this week. Hopefully meaning that despite some more injury problems, the two can make some impact.
And so, a trip to Steel FC’s stadium on the campus of Lehigh Valley University could prove to be educational in one way or another for the Battery. The match kicks off at 3PM on Sunday afternoon.