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Playoffs Preview: Louisville City FC vs. Bethlehem Steel FC

By USLSoccer.com Staff, 10/24/18, 8:55AM EDT

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Defending champion Louisville takes on Steel FC in rematch from last year’s postseason

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – For a second consecutive postseason No. 2-seed Louisville City FC will play host to No. 6-seed Bethlehem Steel FC as the two sides meet at Slugger Field on Saturday night in the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2018 USL Cup Playoffs, with LouCity looking for a repeat performance of its victory against Steel FC on its way to a championship a year ago. #LOUvBST kicks off at 7:30 p.m. ET and can be watched live on ESPN+ in the United States and YouTube internationally, and followed live via the USL Match Center.

@LouCityFC swept to a 4-0 win against Bethlehem in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals a season ago when former LouCity defender Tarek Morad scored twice to lead the side to victory. The defending USL Cup champion is in similar attacking form currently, having averaged three goals-per-game over the course of its current seven-game winning streak that continued this past Saturday with a 4-1 win against Indy Eleven. Niall McCabe’s two goals led the way in the club’s postseason opener this year, which saw LouCity maintain a perfect home record of eight wins and no defeats at Slugger Field in its playoff history.

@BSteelFC returns to Slugger Field having claimed its first playoff victory last Saturday night in dramatic fashion against No. 3-seed Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC. Bethlehem rallied in both regulation and extra time behind goals from 2018 USL 20 Under 20 selection Michee Ngalina and veteran captain James Chambers to leave the game tied 2-2 after 120 minutes at Highmark Stadium, and then scored eight consecutive penalty kicks in the ensuing shootout to advance 8-7 past the Hounds. Steel FC could be without defender Matt Real and midfielder Anthony Fontana for Saturday’s game after both were called into the United States U-20 National Team squad for the upcoming 2018 Concacaf U-20 Championship that kicks off on November 1 at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.

Opta Says

4 – Cameron Lancaster’s free kick goal last Saturday night against Indy Eleven was his fourth of the 2018 season, the most of any player in league action this year.

376 – Bethlehem’s James Chambers has recorded 376 passes into the attacking third this season, fourth-most in the league, at an accuracy rate of 63.95 percent. 

FiveThirtyEight.com Match Predictor: Louisville City FC 73%, Bethlehem Steel FC 27%

Projected Lineups

Louisville City FC – GK: Greg Ranjitsingh; D: Kyle Smith, Paco Craig, Alex Souahy, Oscar Jimenez; DM: Niall McCabe, Paolo DelPiccolo; AM: Brian Ownby, Niall McCabe, Ilija Ilic, George Davis IV; F: Cameron Lancaster

Bethlehem Steel FC – GK: Jake McGuire; D: Olivier Mbaizo, Matt Mahoney, Ben Ofeimu, Brandon Aubrey; DM: James Chambers, Drew Skundrich; AM: Santi Moar, Brenden Aaronson, Michee Ngalina; F: Faris

Discipline

Louisville – None

Bethlehem – None

Officials
REF:
Farhad Dadkho
AR1: Walter Heatherly
AR2: Brooke Mayo
4TH: Ismir Pekmic

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