Don't Look now but the Steel FC are in 6th place in the Eastern Conference of the USL. http://www.uslsoccer.com/usl-standings At 5-6-1, we are tied with 4 other teams evidently winning some tie-breakers in the process of sitting in 6th. But hey we'll take it. There is a tangible cohesiveness with this squad that you just didn't feel as much last year. You can see upgrades and stabilizing forces (Sekuh Conneh, Corey Burke, James Chambers, Hugh Roberts and Jake McGuire) in all facets of the game. Meaningful connections are happening. Now the Steel are winning the close games that last year we would at best tie. Piling up 3 points over and over is putting the Steel FC in the position to actually play some extra soccer this year. How cool would that be?
There was no better example of this than last sunday's game in St Louis. The Steel go down 1-0 in the first 3 minutes and a flaky goal on the road. Last year I'll be honest, "here we go again" would be the first thought in my head. This year however my son and i anchored in for the full Service Electric broadcast knowing there was still plenty of good Bethlehem Soccer to come. We were rewarded with 2 second half goals and a thrilling 2-1 win. The cherry on top being a 20 yard bomb from captain James Chambers in the 74th minute. I loved how Sekuh Conneh (our top offensive threat) looked for a Chambers (who was sitting back a bit) at the top of the box on this play. Having had the luxury of experiencing so many Steel FC games on the field as a photographer i can confirm "The Captain" can strike the ball harder than anyone i can remember seeing first hand. It was nice to see that skill applied effectively in such an important spot in the game and the season. Absolutely nothing against Ryan Richter our captain last year, but man is it cool to see a player who runs a team on the field like he does. The game truly goes through him and its special to watch. Heck just witnessing him switch the ball from one side of the field to the other using his laces with such crazy distance and accuracy is a treat! His experience and skill set are allowing coach Brendan Burke to build a system that the younger guys are buying into. Hopefully this game is just a preview of bigger and better things to come. In the meantime the arm band has found a worthy home to be sure.