On Sunday, the Riverhounds SC will return to Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J., where they haven’t played since 2016. The NY Red Bulls II have since played all home matches at Montclair St. University’s facility, but due to the pandemic, they’re back using the organization’s gem of a facility in Harrison, New Jersey.
On Friday, a few days following the Hounds’ 1-0 home opening loss, members of the Pittsburgh media had a Zoom call with veteran defender Jordan Dover.
Suddenly, with the Hounds losing on Wednesday and Red Bulls II handling Philadelphia Union II with ease, this upcoming match carries significant implications for both clubs as they complete to finish in the top two spots in Group F.
Currently, the Hounds sit atop the standings in the five-team group, but they’ve now been joined by Hartford Athletic, who also now have a game at hand on Pittsburgh. With a win on Sunday, the Baby Bulls can also pull into a tie with the Hounds.
|Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC||3||2-1-0||6|
|New York Red Bulls II||3||1-2-0||3|
|Loudoun United FC||2||0-1-1||1|
|Philadelphia Union II||3||0-2-1||1|
Hartford’s two wins have come against teams within the group, NY Red Bulls II (1-0, on Friday 7/17) and Loudoun United (3-1, on Monday, 7/20).
The Riverhounds know they still have work to do, and it will start on Sunday at New Jersey.
Dover shared his thoughts on numerous topics, including:
Preparing for NY Red Bulls II
“I think regardless of who they put on the field, they’re doing to be dangerous, especially offensively. They always through a lot of numbers forward and then can turn a game on its head. The thing for us is making sure we’re not turning the ball over and we’re organized. We’re confident in what we can do offensively, so it’s mostly about just slowing them down on the attack,” Dover said.
On bouncing back from a tough loss on Wednesday
“I think it’s mostly just having the mentality, especially in the manner that we lost, I think a lot of us were just sick after that game. I was talking to lot of guys and it was tough for us to sleep that night. We’re all itching to get another game. One thing with Bob Lilley’s teams is we rarely lose two games in a row. I think we’re all ready.
“I don’t think either team played a great game, to be fair. I think we had a decent amount of possession, but when we had it we were a little bit antsy and played some long balls that were forced and some crosses that weren’t coming from great areas, myself included. I think if we passed the ball a little more we would’ve found ways to break them down. We have to work it and make sure we’re doing things the right way.”
Addressing how both he and Ryan James will get more involved in getting forward and into the attack
“I think when we’re playing our best as a team, me and Ryan naturally find our opportunities to get forward. That comes from our build-up play. If we do that the right way, me and Ryan are going to find ways to get forward. And if we’re higher, the whole team will be higher and we won’t have to worry too much about being countered.”
Thoughts on Wednesday’s unique game plan to have Dani Rovira man-mark Tyler Pasher and everyone’s roles in a unique tactical approach
“I think Bob’s done a great job at making all of us flexible. All of our personnel is comfortable with making in-game adjustments and game-to-game adjustments. It took a couple days in training to work through some of the kinks. Danny did a great job on Pasher. We have to make sure we’re recovering and in some good areas. Bob does a great job in making sure we’re ready to follow unique game plans.”
What was it like to finally play a home match, especially without fans…
“We’ve always felt Highmark was a fortress. I think our turf plays a little bit unique. Our opponents have a difficult time playing there. I don’t know if it’s a good thing or bad thing that our fans weren’t there. At least they didn’t have to witness it. It’s almost less pressure now that the streak is broken, but at the same time you always want to win.”
“It was the first thing I saw when I come out. The main thing that I got from that is I just miss the fans. I miss the energy, I miss the Steel Army. It really makes you value how important your fans are. It helped, but bittersweet.”
How has it been for you and your teammates in dealing with the pandemic
“It’s been tough. It’s just that uncertainty. It’s tough to stay focused when there’s so many other things going on. Even when we were doing small-group training, we were still learning what was going to happen with the season. Once we found out we were playing and got the schedule, it all happens so fast. The mentality switches just like that.”
“Once we found out we were going to Louisville to play there, all that buzz comes back. It’s like we were never away from it.”
Thoughts on the team’s back line through three matches…
“I think it’s been great. Back line has done a great job so far. I think everyone has caught onto the principles we have as a team. We just have to make sure we’re covering each other at all times and check shoulders at all times. I think the back line overall has done very well.
On kneeling with most of his teammates prior to the matches this season, and what things have been like during a time when social injustices have come to the forefront…
“I think it’s beautiful to see. We have a platform, and the platform is useless if we’re not using it for the right reasons. We had a meeting as a team and I let everybody know that, we’ve been playing soccer our whole lives, and it should be important, but at the end of the day it’s not the most important thing. This is bigger than us and I think any chance we can speak our minds on social justice or systemic racism. Anything that we could do to help those less privileged than us is something we should do. We’ve had meetings as a team and some have elected to stand, some have elected to kneel, but we all understand what’s going on. The most important thing is that you stand up for what you believe in. I think we just need to continue to fight.
More on Jordan Dover:
Dover competed for the Guyana National Team during the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup, making his debut against the United States on June 18, 2019. He had two caps in the tournament.
This is Dover’s third season with the Riverhounds SC.
The defender started all 25 of his appearances in 2019 for the Hounds, adding a goal and two assists. In 2018, Dover started 29 of his 30 games played and finished second on the team with 73 tackles. The wingback scored two goals, including his first career professional tally against FC Cincinnati on April 21 at Nippert Stadium.
Dover previously played with Rochester Rhinos, also under Bob Lilley in 2017.
A native of Ajax, Ontario, Canada, Dover attended and played soccer at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay from 2012-15.