Commentary

Has a striker been found in Bethlehem?

Feature Photo: Courtesy of Bethlehem Steel FC

Something notable is happening in Bethlehem Steel’s last four games.

Beginning June 13 at Cincinnati, for almost four weeks Fabian Herbers has started as the Steel’s  striker.

In those four games the German from Creighton  scored four goals with two assists. In detail:

  • June 13 at Cincinnati. Down a man after Olivier Mbaizo’s red card, and just down 2-1 after Cincy’s two-goals-in-three-minutes comeback, Herbers a minute later finds the net at the other end on an assist from Michee Ngalina to rescue a point from a game that might have been won but for the Cameroonian’s madness.
  • June 22 at home to Red Bulls 2. Herbers plays the full 90 in the last-second miracle comeback draw, but neither scores nor assists. Ominously, he gets a yellow card in the fourth minute of first half stoppage time.
  • June 30 home to Charlotte. Herbers has a “strong” second half. He finds Santi Moar in the 46th minute for Moar’s goal that doubles the lead right out of the locker room. He finds Drew Skundrich in the 72nd minute for the rookie midfielder’s first professional goal. And then he himself ices the cake in the 80th on a return assist from Moar.
  • July 6 at Penn FC in Harrisburg. On a night when another first teamer is lackluster, Herbers puts Bethlehem ahead in the 17th minute on an assist from Moar, and executes the penalty kick in the 82nd that makes hope for a comeback credible.

Unfortunately, in the 68th minute at Harrisburg he squirted his water bottle at the referee argumentatively and was yellow-carded for his trouble. It was his fifth yellow of the season, so he is suspended for Wednesday’s match in Gwinnett, GA on Coolray Field’s baseball diamond against fellow MLS wholly-owned affiliate Atlanta United 2.

But if the attitude change that caused a yellow-card every other game also produced many goals and assists, let it continue. One might think to oneself, “Diego Costa.”

Bethlehem’s opposing teams in those four matches are not USL weak sisters, although Charlotte were playing a third game in eight days and had not put out an entirely first-choice lineup. Cincinnati lies 1st, Red Bulls are 7th, Penn are 8th, and Charlotte are 9th. Bethlehem are 10th. It has not been England playing Panama.

July 14 has two matches that will be of interest for anyone conducting a Fabian Herbers “watch.” The first team plays a friendly against Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt two hours after Bethlehem taps off against North Carolina at Goodman. They are the middle games of three in eight days for both the Union and the Steel.

Herbers will be available for both. First team schedule pressures suggest he might be in Chester thus providing opportunity for others at Goodman, but we shall see. Were he in Chester, where he would start on the pitch against his compatriots might be interesting.

In an historical note, the game sequence detailed above is not the first time Fabian Herbers has played striker for Bethlehem. All six of his 2016 appearances for Bethlehem were up top, and in those games he scored two goals, one being the first ever scored by the new team, in its very first game at Montreal. Herbers three 2017 Steel appearances were not at striker.

 

8 Comments

  1. If Fabian was several years younger I’d say, yes, definitely. But unfortunately at this point, he’s well into his development and career so to think his ceiling is much higher, just doesn’t seem reasonable.

    What seems realistic is another energy/second half sub capable of supplying some offense when needed, in the same way of Corey Burke, which still, doesn’t solve the Union’s Striker Problem.

    Of note – good on Corey to seemingly get the nod this week, but again, still not fixing the problem.

  2. I’ll try anything or anybody up top. Where’s Aaron Wheeler?

  3. Joel Pterosaur says:

    While I do feel Herbers best position is striker and not winger, I don’t think he is the solution for the Union’s scoring woes. The Unions are the world’s best at draining all talent from any player.

  4. WeAreSteel2K18 says:

    Herbers has been great lately. The only downside that I’ve seen is that he tends to drift wide too often leaving nobody in the middle. I know Steel plays from the wings but there needs to be somebody in the middle.

    It’s working so who cares. Let’s beat ATL2 tonight.

  5. Is Herbers’s skill set any different than that of Jay Simpson? I tend to think the former is just the German/Creighton version of the latter.

  6. #TeamAristeguieta #GiveNandoOneMoreChance #GingerNinja

  7. SilverRey says:

    He looked pretty lost out there for the Union early in the season – granted he was still coming off his injury and it was early, etc.
    .
    Confidence is a h311 of a drug though, and you need your strikers to be confident – something CJ is suffering from right now. Burke had it for a bit earlier, but seems to have trailed off a bit. Who knows, maybe it is time for some Herbers action…

  8. Rossi is out of contract. Take a gamble on those knees??? Give him a chance to prove he’s still able to play without walker…

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