In two months, USL Championship and the Riverhounds SC 2022 season will be off and running.
The Hounds will host Hartford Athletic in the 10th home opener at Highmark Stadium on Saturday, March 19, the USL Championship announced this afternoon.
Kickoff time for the match will be announced at a later date, while the full USL Championship schedule is expected to be released next week.
In addition to that match, the season opener for the Riverhounds’ 23rd season of play was announced.
The Hounds will begin their 34-game league schedule on the road for the fifth consecutive year, as they travel to face Memphis 901 FC on March 12, part of the league’s opening weekend. It is the earliest start date for a season in team history, as the USL Championship schedule was arranged for the season to end prior to the start of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in November.
The home opener with Hartford pairs the Hounds with an opponent they have become quite familiar with since the Connecticut club joined the USL in 2019. The Hounds are 6-1-2 in nine matchups over the past three seasons, but their lone loss in the series, a 1-0 game late in the 2020 season, allowed Hartford to wrest the division title away from Pittsburgh.
The teams last met to end the 2021 season, playing a 0-0 draw at Highmark Stadium on Oct. 30. That scoreless game was an outlier in the all-time series, in which the Hounds have scored at least three goals in six of the nine meetings.
The Hounds return 11 players from last year’s team, which qualified for the playoffs with a 17-8-7 record in the fourth season under head coach Bob Lilley.
The returning group includes three of their top four scorers from 2021 — Russell Cicerone, Alex Dixon and captain Kenardo Forbes.