Press conference notes

Notes from Brendan Burke’s weekly Bethlehem Steel teleconference

In his teleconference on Wednesday, Bethlehem Steel’s Coach Brendan Burke addressed several questions.

Facing Wilmington Hammerheads

When asked about any possible advantages the Steel might gain from the extra minutes played by Wilmington Hammerheads in their overtime-plus-penalty-kicks loss to Real Salt Lake on Tuesday evening in Utah, Burke said that those circumstances “can’t help” Wilmington, pointing out that early-week game place an extra challenge before any side. At the same time, he praised Hammerheads’ mentality, stating that he expected the extra challenge would not change the way Wilmington would play.

When will Eric Ayuk be back?

The coach said he did not know anything about Eric Ayuk’s return to the Steel from Cameroon where he has been playing with the U-20 side in a home and home series against Zimbabwe qualifying towards the 2017 U-20 Africa Cup of Nations. He has not yet had any conversation about the subject.

Upcoming roster composition

When asked about roster composition for the next several weeks until early August, Burke indicated that the needs of the first team governed, and could not be predicted. With respect to those needs, his role is to “react, not dictate.”

He did indicate that the contributions of the Philadelphia Union Academy players would be strong, mentioning that new Academy players are expected to appear among upcoming gameday 18s. He pointed to strong performance in the last few games when five or six Academy players had been on the gameday squad, and mentioned that 30 Academy players have at some point practiced with the Steel. He feels confident selecting Academy players, and confident leaning on them.

When asked about a specific potential pairing, he said he has already thought about pairing of Mark McKenzie and Auston Trusty at center back. He wants to set them up for success when he tries it, and said that that time is not quite yet here.

Burke said the travel party for Wilmington was not clearly defined because the first team’s impending game with Harrisburg in the Fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup tournament will affect its needs. He said at a minimum Mark McKenzie, Auston Trusty, and Justin McMaster would travel to Wilmington. Raheem Taylor-Parkes will not, as a precautionary measure given an ankle knock.

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