Player of the Week

Player of the week: Fabian Herbers

Photo: Rob Simmons

While Philadelphia Union got walloped 4-1 on the road in their first-ever match versus Los Angeles Football Club, Bethlehem Steel were knocking around Charlotte Independence by the same impressive scoreline.

The dominant Steel display was thanks in large part to Union forward Fabian Herbers. Saddled at the bottom Philadelphia’s deep forward and winger depth chart, Herbers has largely been relegated to Bethlehem for most of the season, already earning career-high USL minutes.

But Herbers’ recent form has shown that a call-up back to MLS may be in the works.

Over the weekend, Herbers recorded a goal and two assists – combining well and often with winger Santi Moar (who should earn a call-up himself) – in the 4-1 home win over Charlotte. While Herbers has largely played winger for the Union thanks to the MLS club’s penchant for a hold-up striker, he has seamlessly fit into Bethlehem manager Brendan Burke’s system in USL, where he operates more like a false 9 just above Adam Najem at the 10-spot.

Herbers has always possessed superior vision and passing, earning seven assists in his 2016 rookie campaign, but it was actually his hold-up play that sparked his two assists over the weekend. On Bethlehem’s second tally, Herbers’ midfield header sprung Moar on the break, while a redirection of cross at the top of the boss gifted Steel rookie Drew Skundrich his first professional goal.

To put the game firmly out of reach, Herbers drifted wide on a Steel counterattack to find space and beat an Independence defender and the goalie with a perfectly placed shot to the far post to make it 3-0.

With C.J. Sapong’s poor run of form, Herbers may find bench time with the Union behind current backup Corey Burke, should the Jamaican be awarded a well-deserved starting spot.

Honorable mention: Drew Skundrich

Drew Skundrich earned his first-ever professional goal and assist on Saturday, and garnered serious play from manager Brendan Burke. Skundrich, a Stanford graduate, was drafted by the Los Angeles Galaxy in the 2018 SuperDraft before being released and signed by the Steel in March. As a solid box-to-box midfielder, Skundrich covered plenty of ground in front of James Chambers and aided the attack often when the dominant Steel were in possession in the final third.

One Comment

  1. SilverRey says:

    Maybe it’s time for Herbers to come back, but he looked lost earlier in the year for the Union so I’m a little weary.
    At the same time, we need something. I love CJ, but his mojo is absolutely missing this year. Burke looked good and probably deserves more starts over the next few games.

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