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Preview: Atlanta United 2 vs Pittsburgh Riverhounds

Preview: Atlanta United 2 vs Pittsburgh Riverhounds

It isn’t quite into the dog days of summer, but for a Riverhounds team that is about to play its third game in seven days, it sure feels like the dog days. Pittsburgh’s soccer club had a midweek US Open Cup match to Columbus Crew, a 1-0 defeat, that followed last week’s disappointing 2-2 draw against the Ottawa Fury in which the Hounds went up 2-0 and then gave up the lead on a questionable penalty call and a momentary late defensive lapse.  Those disappointing results are added to the list of disappointments for a season which is slowly going pear-shaped. The Hounds haven’t won a USL Championship league game since mid-April, when they beat Hartford Athletic.

Pittsburgh might be able to get a result against Atlanta United 2, another struggling team in USL. Atlanta 2 has a 3-6-4 (WLD) record, and their last win also came in mid-April, against North Carolina FC. But they also may need to field a team of backups, considering the wear and tear that the regular eleven have experienced this past week.

 

Personnel and Tactics

ATL2 play a 4-3-3 that relies on wide attacks and long passes that skip the midfield. Their top player is Andrew Carleton, a wide forward who often starts on the left and likes to take opponents on and try and dribble past for a chance from an angle. Center forward Gordon Wild, a graduate of the University of Maryland, was a top college prospect who is still trying to crack Atlanta United’s MLS roster. He had 7 goals for the Charleston Battery in 2018, but has just 1 goal this season for Atlanta 2.

The veteran presence to steady the midfield is Jack Metcalf, a 27-year-old Brit who has bounced around USL a little. Luiz Fernando is a Brazilian attacker who also joined ATL from Charleston, but has been playing this season as a defender. The defense is pretty mediocre, having allowed 21 goals in 13 matches, and relies on goals, which haven’t been easy to get. The leading scorer, Romario Williams, is a wide forward that often plays opposite Carleton on the other flank. He has just 3 goals this year, but has a track record for scoring across USL. In just five professional seasons, he’s on his sixth team, and that includes two brief stints in MLS with the Montreal Impact and Atlanta United.

In short, these guys can score on their opponents using individual play, and can put on a dazzling attack. But if the Hounds defend well, they can be stymied, and their defense is eminently beatable.

Match Information

Date: Saturday, June 15

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Location: Fifth Third Bank Stadium, Kennesaw, GA

Television: Pittsburgh’s CW

StreamingESPN+

Live StatisticsUSL Championship Match Center

Live Updates: Twitter at @RiverhoundsSC and #ATLvPIT

Featured Image care of ATLUTD2 twitter.

Mark Asher Goodman is a soccer fanatic with a particular interest in tactical analysis and advanced data and statistics. He writes for the Denver Post and Pittsburgh Soccer Now, and co-hosts a podcast on the Colorado Rapids called 'Holding the High Line with Rabbi and Red.' When he's not reading, writing, watching, or coaching soccer, he is an actual rabbi. No, really. You can find him on twitter at @soccer_rabbi

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