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US OPEN CUP PREVIEW: Battle of Western PA – Riverhounds SC vs Erie Commodores

US OPEN CUP PREVIEW: Battle of Western PA – Riverhounds SC vs Erie Commodores

Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC vs Erie Commodores (Lamar Hunt US Open Cup second round)

McConnell Family Stadium, Gannon University, Erie, PA; 7 pm kickoff

Broadcast / Live Feed:

Audio: with Hounds play-by-play man Matt Gajtka (via Hounds Facebook page)

Video stream: USSoccer.com

Follow on Twitter: #USOC2018, #UNLEASH, @pghsoccerscribe

Open Cup Records

  • Riverhounds SC (10-15 all-time)
  • Erie (1-0)

Key Storylines

  • This will be a battle of professionals vs amateurs, as Hounds travel to Erie in its 26th match played all-time in the Open Cup. The club, is unbeaten in USL play (4-0-4) currently sitting in third place, holds a 10-15 record overall in Open Cup. They have struggled the past two seasons, failing to advance out of the second round of play.
  • Since the opening of Highmark Stadium in 2013, this will be the Hounds’ fourth road Open Cup match. The Hounds have lost all three of those matches, all to lower division teams. The Hounds have amassed a 5-2 record at Highmark.
  • This match will mark the return to Northwest PA for Erie native and current Hound Andy Lubahn, who played with the Erie Admirals youth teams.

“I’m super excited,” said Lubahn. “My career has taking me all over except western Pennsylvania [until now]. It’s always nice to play in front of family and friends.”

  • The Black and Gold has not won on the road in Open Cup competition since 2008 against the A.A.C. Eagles in Lisle, Illinois – a current stretch of eight matches total.
  • The Hounds will return home to Highmark Stadium if victorious tomorrow night, facing the winner of Detroit City FC of the NPSL and conference-rival FC Cincinnati next Wednesday, May 23 in the Open Cup’s third round.
  • Of the current roster, Kay Banjo, Ben Fitzpatrick, Kevin Kerr and Romeo Parkes have previous experience playing in the Open Cup for the Hounds. Only Kerr’s extends past last year’s 3-1 defeat at Chicago FC United.
  • If the Hounds advance past Commodores FC, they would then prepare for a third round match on May 23. This game would take place at Highmark Stadium, and Pittsburgh would play the winner of the second round tilt between FC Cincinnati and Detroit City FC.

 

Injury updates

Although the Hounds have not officially released an injury report for the game, Head Coach Bob Lilley said he expects nearly the same 18 on his line-up card for the game in Erie as he had vs Indy Eleven last Friday.

Players who are out of last game included: Joe Greenspan, Dennis Chin, Kay Banjo and Ben Fitzpatrick. Mouhamed Dabo was questionable.

More on the Commodores

A member of the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL), Commodores FC is making its first-ever appearance in the Open Cup. The club was originally founded in 2009 and known as Erie Admirals FC before rebranding to Commodores FC in 2015. Though new to Open Cup competition,

Commodores FC has helped develop several players to higher ranks stateside, ranging from USL to MLS. Erie advanced to the second round after defeating the Rochester Lancers (formerly branded as Rochester River Dogz FC) of the NPSL, 1-1 (5-4 PKs), on May 9.

Cameron Philpot initially provided Commodores FC with a 1-0 lead in the 27th minute before the Lancers knotted the score at 1-1 at the end of the first half.

Erie most recently finished first in its conference in 2017, and is led by first-year skipper Dale White. Commodores FC will kick off its tenth season in the NPSL on May 19.

Hounds in Open Cup History

The Hounds have recently faltered in Open Cup action the past two years, being eliminated after one game of play by lower division foes.

These losses follow two straight runs into the fourth round of Open Cup action, and both of these fourth round defeats came at the hands of MLS teams (Chicago Fire in 2014 and D.C. United in 2015).

Overall, the Hounds have faced an MLS squad five times in Open Cup play. Their only win came against the Colorado Rapids in 2001.

What They’re Saying:

“It’s definitely going to be a strange feeling, but a feeling of happiness more than anything,” said Pedro Argaez, Commodores co-owner, who along with head coach White trained Lubahn, 26, during his middle school and high school years with Erie Admirals Soccer Club.

“I was fortunate to have some coaches there who took an interest in my career and wanted to help me progress, and I’ll always be grateful for that,” said Lubahn, who spent 10 years with the Admirals youth program before moving on to further pursue his career,”Lubahn said. “(Winning) will be 100 percent my focus,” Lubahn said. “All of the pleasantries and goodwill we can take care of after the game.”

John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets including Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, DK Pittsburgh Sports, Pittsburgh Sports Report, and more. Krysinsky also served as the Head Men’s Soccer Coach at his alma mater, Point Park University, where he led the Pioneers to the first-ever winning seasons and playoff berths (1996-98); head coach of North Catholic boys (2007-08), associate head coach of Shady Side Academy boys (2009-2014).

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