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Breaking Down the Hounds: Grand ole opener #NSHvPGH

Breaking Down the Hounds: Grand ole opener #NSHvPGH

Pittsburgh Riverhounds (0-0-0) vs Nashville SC (0-1-0)

6 p.m. kickoff (5 p.m. CST) / Nissan Stadium, Nashville, TN

TV / Stream / Follow:  Pittsburgh’s CW / YouTube / Twitter – #NSHvPGH

Forecast:  65 degrees, light rain, potential scattered Thunderstorms

Hounds Pregame Notes 

PSN Coverage:  John Krysinsky will be in Nashville, (follow on twitter @pghsoccerscribe)

All-time series: first meeting ever

KEY STORYLINES

  • The Riverhounds open the 2018 season on the road — in an NFL stadium — at Nissan Stadium as demand for tickets exceeded what NSC could hold at First Tennessee Park (capacity 8,500). With a new MLS team on the way in Music City USA, the excitement for pro soccer has reached a fever pitch, it’s now expected that there will be more than 20,000 fans in the 69,000 seat facility for the club’s first ever USL regular season match.

 

  • Bob Lilley

    The Hounds enter 2018 with high expectations under a new coach, Bob Lilley, who takes over the club after a successful run in Rochester, where he made the playoffs in each year at the helm. Lilley has won multiple pro titles, with Vancouver Whitecaps (USL 1st Division, 2006), and Rochester (USL 2015).

  • While Lilley methodically assembled a roster of 23 players, which includes seven he brought with him from Rochester, he will probably have a few veteran players that will either not be ready to play due to fitness/injuries or see limited action including former All-USL selection Kenardo Forbes, who only joined the team last week after playing with Syracuse in MASL, as well as new additions Ben Zemanski and Dennis Chin.
  • There are two former recent Hounds playing for Nashville SC, midfielder Lebo Moloto, who was here in 2015-16, and Taylor Washington, who started 27 games at outside back in 2017. Moloto had a solid campaign with Swope Park Rangers in 2017, scoring seven goals and four assists as part of an attacking unit that made it to the USL Cup Final. In the opening loss last Saturday against Louisville City FC, Moloto led the team with three shot attempts.

CLOSER LOOK AT NASHVILLE SC

Only one regular season game into its existence, Nashville will be a transitional club which will eventually move up in the ranks to MLS after this season or the following season. It’s very likely that its MLS club may still have some form of USL team in the second division.

Here’s our own Riverhound Rabbi’s scouting report on the Hounds opening day opponents, expansion Nashville SC, as they hung around against defending USL Champions Louisville City for scoreless first half

Mike Sparks also sat down with the Speedway Soccer Podcast co-hosts to get their take on Saturday’s match in this Crossover Preview podcast.

 

INJURY REPORT

Only one Hounds player is coming up on this week’s injury report:

Ben Fitzpatrick, who’s listed as out with lower body issue.

 

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING ABOUT #NSHvPGH #DRIVETONISSAN :

“Now, we have to go out and do our part — and produce some results on the field.” Kevin Kerr, after the Hounds announced a new logo in late February when asked about expectations for this season under Bob Lilley.

Related: Kevin Kerr – Hounds’ venerable warrior at home in Pittsburgh 

Washington, who came on in the 85th minute at Louisville, showed some respect for his opponent and former captain, Kevin Kerr earlier this week.

RELATED: PGH MEDIA PRESEASON PREDICTIONS 

 

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).

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