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BREAKING DOWN THE HOUNDS: Grudge match at Cincy

Riverhounds (8-8-9, 33 points) vs. FC Cincinnati (9-9-7, 34 points)
4:02 p.m.
Nippert Stadium
TV, video: Pittsburgh’s CW, USL YouTube
Boxscore: USL Match Center
I will be heading to Cincinnati for the Hounds’ lone trip to the Queen City this season.
This will be a grudge match between two teams desperate to stay above the playoff line in a very tight USL Eastern Conference table.
You can follow my updates including pregame, in-game and post-game interviews on Twitter @Pghsoccerscribe, Pittsburgh Soccer Report’s Facebook page and on the live game file on DK Pittsburgh Sports.

• What is left of Hurricane Harvey will be making its way through the Ohio Valley on Friday and early Saturday, and somewhere between 1 and 2 inches of rain are expected to drench the Cincinnati area, but it is expected to taper off by 4 p.m. game time.
• Riding a three-game win streak, the Hounds attack has awakened to the tune of eight goals in the past three games. Here’s my in-depth feature on the Hounds scoring surge earlier this week.
• FC Cincinnati has been a fascinating team to follow this season, not only because they’ve been continuing to shatter attendance records, but they also made a remarkably deep run in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup — ending with a semifinal loss in overtime to NY Red Bulls. Head coach Alan Koch has also added a lot of new faces to the roster since the Hounds faced them on April 2 at Highmark Stadium. For a more detailed scouting report on FCC, Michael Walker from Blue and Orange Press provided me with his insights in my FCC scouting report piece on Pittsburgh Soccer Report.
• The Hounds have yet to beat FCC, or even put a goal past goalkeeper Mitch Hildebrandt in four tries in the brief history of this series that began last May. The Hounds have lost to FCC by three 1-0 scores, and the two teams also battled to a 0-0 draw at Highmark Stadium in late September 2016.
• The Hounds injury report this week included all of the players on the roster that are out for the season (Trey MitchellKeasel BroomeRich BalchanShane Campbell), but also one other notable listing, goalkeeper Nick Perrella, who is listed as probable (neck).
• Perrella’s placement on the injury report may be a subtle hint that the Hounds will be going with newly acquired Alex Kapp (on loan from MLS Minnesota United) for his first-ever pro start at Cincinnati on Saturday. Coincidentally, the Hounds have gone with two goalkeepers (Zach Steffen, Columbus and Calle Brown, Houston) who are in MLS now at the end of the previous two seasons. From that perspective, Kapp, Atlanta United’s 64th overall pick in 2017 MLS SuperDraft, would likely have the advantage over Perrella, who held his own in his first start last week in 3-2 win over Bethlehem Steel FC. Perrella, who made two starts in 2016 with the Steel FC, was brought to Pittsburgh in mid-August to replace the injured Broome prior to Mitchell’s season ending injury.

John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets. He is also author of 'Miracle on the Mon' -- a book about the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, which chronicles the club, particularly the early years of Highmark Stadium with the narrative leading up to and centered around a remarkable match that helped provide a spark for the franchise. John has covered sports for Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, DK Pittsburgh Sports, Pittsburgh Sports Report, has served as color commentator on Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC broadcasts, and worked with OPTA Stats and broadcast teams for US Open Cup and International Champions Cup matches held in the US. 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).

Riverhounds MF Danny Griffin

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