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Red hot Locomotive FC roll into Highmark Stadium on three game win streak

Photo courtesy Ed Thompson

For the first time this season the Riverhounds SC will play back-to-back league games at home, a week apart, when they host El Paso Locomotive FC following up its 1-0 win vs Birmingham Legion FC.

It’s been a pretty normal training week for the team, with plenty of home cooking and minimal travel as they prepared with on the field sessions every day but Wednesday.

The Hounds are also back in sole possession of second place after Detroit City FC’s 3-1 loss to Tulsa.

Now, on Saturday, El Paso rolls into Highmark Stadium on a hot streak, winning its last three matches by a combined score of 10-2.  Look for more below from Bob Lilley’s initial thoughts on the Locomotive and a closer look at how the first year pros are doing in Pittsburgh.

Pos. P W L T GD Pts Form
1
Louisville City FC 10 7 0 3 16 24
WWDWW
2
Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC 9 6 2 1 9 19
WLWLW
3
Detroit City FC 9 5 2 2 6 17
WWWWL
4
Memphis 901 FC 8 5 2 1 3 16
DWWLW
5
Indy Eleven 8 4 2 2 2 14
DWWWW
6
The Miami FC 9 4 3 2 2 14
WWLWD
7
Tampa Bay Rowdies 10 3 3 4 3 13
LWDLL
8
FC Tulsa 10 4 6 0 -3 12
LLLLW
9
Birmingham Legion FC 10 3 4 3 -3 12
LWWDL
10
Loudoun United FC 9 2 6 1 -7 7
LLLLL
11
Atlanta United 2 9 2 7 0 -14 6
WLLLL
12
Hartford Athletic 8 1 6 1 -6 4
LLLLW
13
Charleston Battery 8 1 6 1 -10 4
LLDLL
14
New York Red Bulls II 9 1 7 1 -11 4

Rookie Rundown 

With Hounds Head Coach Bob Lilley pointing out that he started a bunch of first year pros in the lineup on Saturday, thought this would be an opportune time to take a closer look at the impact that some of the rookies are having with the club.

Luke Biasi

After a collegiate career that included stops at Memphis and Louisville, Biasi is starting to become a fixture in the Hounds lineup card of late, starting the last two matches in duel roles as a winger and when the Hounds went to a four-man back line, at outside back.  Biasi has started three of five appearances, as he’s played a total of 225 minutes.  Thus far, he’s quietly been efficient in winning his battles, winning 25 of 38 duels, with four clearances, four interceptions and three tackles. In the last start vs BIrmingham, he won 10 duels (of 15); winning three fouls along the way.

Nathan Dossantos 

Winning a NCAA Men’s Soccer National Championship for the Marshall Thundering Herd was a remarkable accomplishment, but Dossantos is showing why he belongs in the pros as he’s begun to assert himself into becoming a player who has become a solid winger/outside back flex option, on a squad that values versatlity.

Dossantos has made eight appearances, has started four and has already picked up three assists.  He provided the assist on the Hounds lone goal against Birmingham last week, when he was active making runs forward when playing as part of a four-man back line.

For his performance this past week, Dossantos was named to the USL Championship’s Team of the Week.

Right now, Dossantos has seized his opportunity on the left width, with some pretty solid competition with Robby Dambrot and Toby Sims around as the other viable options.

Arturo Ordonez 

Clearly, the former Pitt Panther has become an instrumental piece of the Hounds back line.  With eight starts in eight league match appearances, Ordonez has become a key cog in the middle of the back line for the Hounds.  His 720 minutes are second only to the Hounds’ ironman, Danny Griffin.  ‘

After being drafted by MLS Next Houston Dynamo, Ordonez could have easily made the decision to stay with that organization and its MLS Next Pro squad, but wanted to come back to Pittsburgh to play at a higher level and be part of a team that has a nice mix of veterans and young players trying to win a second division championship.

Ordonez plays with an edge that Bob Lilley likes, as his tenacious play includes a team high 42 duels won (out of 62).  He’s also won a team high 25 of 34 arial duels along with (also team high) five blocks and seven tackles won (out of 12).

Toby Sims 

We have not seen a lot of Sims in league play (three appearances / 110 minutes total), but he did shine in the Open Cup win against Maryland Bobcats FC, scoring twice when starting for the first time in his soccer career in an attacking midfield role.  The Chowan University standout came to the Hounds as a defender, primarily on the left side.  In his league appearances, he’s had six crosses, five tackles and won 12 of 22 duels.

Chase Vosvick 

The 2021 Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Year at Loyola (MD), started the first two matches of the season for the Hounds, picking up a couple of wins.  Vosvick has one clean sheet and has conceded just one goal in those two appearances.  He’s in competition with both Kevin Silva and Jahmali Waite, so it will be interesting to see how that goes as it seems as if each has a chance to get consecutive starts at different times early in the season.

Jahmali Waite 

While Kevin Silva and Chase Vosvick got starts early in the season for the Hounds, Waite had a chance to show what he’s made of in the Open Cup competition.  Under plenty of fire at Cincinnati, Waite made a number of spectactular saves against the MLS side.  This prompted Lilley and the coaching staff to give him the nod in a few league games that followed.  He’s made four overall starts, with two of those coming in two league matches, Waite has registered one clean sheet and conceded two goals in league play.

Marc Ybarra 

Former University of Michigan standout and one-time teammate of Robbie Mertz was penciled into the Hounds starting lineup on opening day at Memphis.  Since then, Ybarra has made a total of four starts and seven league appearances for a total of 265 minutes.

Lilley has raved about Ybarra’s passing ability and vision.  On Saturday against Birmingham, Ybarra played alongside Kenardo Forbes in the deeper holding midfield, and had his best performance thus far as a professional, with a team high 11 of 14 duels, 53 passes, created a chance and had four interceptions. Ybarra’s progress gives Lilley plenty of tactical flexibility as he will be relying on Ybarra to be part of a rotation that includes Danny Griffin, Kenny Forbes and Dani Rovira to hold down the fort in the central midfield.

Jesse Williams 

The 20 year-old Trinidad and Tobago international, in his first go-around as a professional, has seen sparce time in league play for the Hounds.  He did start in the Hounds Open Cup win against Maryland Bobcats FC, and made one start, in the Hounds 1-0 loss at Las Vegas, on the right wing.

 

El Paso Locomotive to roll into Pittsburgh 

El Paso?

That’s right, the Hounds will face another Western Conference opponent, as for the first time ever, the Locomotive will roll into Highmark Stadium on Saturday.

We anticipate PSN’s Mark Goodman will put together a scouting report and more on this new opponent for the Hounds.

When asked about the Locomotive after Saturday’s win, always on top of things, Bob Lilley was immediately reeling off players he was concerned about and knew many intricate details about the fourth year USL Championship club out of West Texas.

“They are a good, professional team. They have experience.  They’re a good possession team. They’ve played big playoff games. They’ve been one of the top teams in the Western Conference the past few years,” Lilley said.

“I know their personnel. Richie Ryan. Luis Solignac. They had a slow start, but in their last four games, they’re 2-1-1.  (For us), it’s a home game. Knowing we have to go to Tampa and Miami afterwards. We definitely don’t want to drop points at home.”

The Locomotive (4-5-1) added another win to that total, as they’ve now won three matches in a row, outscoring its opponents 10-2 in these last three matches.

In addition, one former Hound, Christiano François will return to Highmark Stadium again with another new team.  Since playing in Pittsburgh in 2018, François has been with Ottawa, Reno, Miami and now El Paso.

One additional fun tidbit, the El Paso twitter account poked some fun this week, reminding the Hounds of the only time they met was during the 2020 season in this USL E-Cup Rocket League encounter during the outset of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

El Paso defeated the Hounds, winning two games (2-0) of the three-game series. Midfielder Kenardo Forbes represented the Hounds whereas goalkeeper Logan Ketterer was El Paso’s representative during the match.


Look for more from Mark Goodman ahead of the match, and Goodman and Jordan Smith will anchor PSN’s coverage on Saturday from Highmark Stadium. 

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).

Riverhounds MF Danny Griffin

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