The Swope Park Rangers and Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC play today in the second leg of their two matches this season, although the fortunes of the two teams have diverged sharply since their 2-2 draw in Kansas City from five months ago. Swope have tumbled to an abysmal 3-11-6 record, which puts them 18th out of 18 teams in the USL Championship Eastern Conference, while the Riverhounds have climbed out of the cellar and into 6th place, 10 points clear of missing the playoffs and with 14 games left to play.
Swope’s struggles are reflected in their lineup instability: of the eleven players that started their match against the Hounds in March, only two players retained their starting spots for their match last week against Nashville SC, a 2-0 home defeat; Brazilian left back Alexsander Andrade and midfielder Felipe Hernandez. The rest of the lineup have been or is currently fungible. Former Arsenal signing and USMNT youth star Gedion Zelalem is with Swope. And two other US Youth National Team players, Wan Kuzain and Jatlin Lindsey, are on the roster.
But all you really need to know is that Swope’s defense is terrible. They’ve conceded 45 goals, third-most in the USL East. Paulo Nagamura‘s young squad is 0-7-2 on the road; when away from home, the kids get that deer-in-headlights look and become roadkill wherever they venture. If the Hounds put on a show like they did last week against Memphis, when they started their dual offensive sparkplugs Anthony Velarde and Robbie Mertz, they should cruise to victory again.
Check the following links for full coverage of today’s match:
For this week’s Riverhounds Notebook from John Krysinsky, click here:
For this week’s View from the Booth from Matt Gatjka, click here:
To see the in-depth scouting report from the last Hounds-Swope match, click here:
And to see the result from the last #SPRvPIT match, click here:
Date: Saturday, Aug. 10
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Highmark Stadium, Pittsburgh, PA
Live Statistics: USL Championship Match Center
Live Updates: Twitter at @RiverhoundsSC and #PITvSPR