The Riverhounds have momentum to build upon as they are coming off a very successful Saturday night at Highmark Stadium, having defeated Rio Grande Valley Toros, 2-0, and doing so in front of a sellout crowd.
The Hounds now prepare for a stretch that will include three matches in seven days, with a home U.S. Open Cup rematch in the Third Round against the Maryland Bobcats of NISA sandwiched between two road matches in El Paso and Indianapolis.
First things first, the Hounds will travel to El Paso for a Saturday night (9:30 p.m. kickoff) showdown in the border town.
The Hounds will be getting back a few players, as Arturo Ordonez and Robbie Mertz will be available for selection (and Junior Etou most likely to remain on the injury list), and most likely will get the nod back into the starting lineup in El Paso.
Even if they weren’t to start, Head Coach Bob Lilley and his captain, Kenardo Forbes have a lot of confidence no matter who’s out there, they’re already showing signs of cohesiveness, especially when defending as a team.
“This group is a really talented group,” Forbes said after the win on Saturday.
“The togetherness is there. Hopefully we can do a lot of damage this season.”
Hounds ‘Togetherness’ Making Life Miserable for Opponents’ Attacking Chances
One thing that was most impressive about the Hounds 2-0 victory vs RGVFC last week, as mentioned in my Takeaways and Player Grades following Saturday’s win vs RGVFC, the entire roster has bought in to what Head Coach Bob Lilley when it comes to defending as a unit, its overall shape and fluid tactics on a game-by-game basis. The Hounds are setting the tone in matches making things very difficult for its opponents to get into any kind of rhythm from the start of every match.
What Lilley has liked from his club, that even while they haven’t always been sharp and making great decisions in advancing when they have the ball, is the energy level and the combined work rate his squad has brought to most every match.
Even as the Hounds have conceded possession in each of its last three matches, they’ve still surrendered just four goals in six matches thus far this season.
And they’ve been doing all of this having to move around personnel with 18 different field players getting starts in the past three games.
Without Ordonez and Mertz, the Hounds started Illal Osumani for the first time this season along with veteran Joe Farrell as the two primary center backs, while Pat Hogan, who started in three of the first four matches, earning spots on the USL Championship’s Team of the Week, came off the bench against RGVFC.
The back line the past three games have included the following combinations:
- Tulsa: Biasi-Ordonez-Farrell-Dossantos
- Colorado Springs: Biasi-Ordonez-Hogan-Dossantos
- RGVFC: Biasi-Osumani-Farrell-Dossantos-Rovira
There’s no doubt we’ll see continued squad rotation as the Hounds set to play three matches in the next week, including the Open Cup tilt on Tuesday night at Highmark Stadium vs Maryland Bobcats FC.
Team of the week player @KenardoF shares his thoughts heading into El Paso this weekend. 🔊#HOUNDTAHN pic.twitter.com/3VOOV2dOlZ
— Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC (@RiverhoundsSC) April 19, 2023
At First Glace: El Paso Locomotive
We will have more extensive scouting report on match day of the Hounds’ opponent, El Paso Locomotive, a team that has a new Head Coach, Brian Clarhaut, who much like his opposing Head Coach on Saturday, Bob Lilley, is a New Jersey native.
The Locomotive got off to a rocky start to the season with three straight losses, but have since shocked Louisville with a 3-0 win, then played Tulsa to a 2-2 draw and won last time out on April 8, with a 1-0 victory vs Orange County SC.
Results aside, Locomotive hasn’t necessarily played bad, but under a new coach, they’ve had their struggles in a new system with a lot of new players.
“I came here to win,” said Clarhaut, who was hired in mid-December after his last coaching gig in Sweden.
“I cannot stress that enough. I came; I moved my family from Europe to come back home. I wasn’t going to come to a place unless they can win and I truly believe that.”
Los Locos put together arguably their best performance of the season in a 1-0 win over Orange County SC on April 8, before getting a 14-day break.
Locomotive FC head coach Brian Clarhaut previewing this week’s home match vs. Pittsburgh Riverhounds. El Paso looking to extend USL unbeaten streak to 4 games.
Clarhaut said they expect defender Marc Navarro to return after missing the last 3 matches with an injury. pic.twitter.com/Nh3pycARi1
— Colin Deaver (@ColinDeaverTV) April 18, 2023
Again, look for more on El Paso to come in Saturday Scouting Report and Match Preview.
A New Partner! The Bulldog Pub will be a PSN featured Riverhounds SC coverage sponsor for the remainder of the season
We are excited to introduce our newest site partners, The Bulldog Pub, located in the heart of the Morningside section in the East End of the City of Pittsburgh (1818 Morningside Avenue to be precise).
The Bulldog Pub will be the exclusive sponsor of Hounds post match coverage on Pittsburgh Soccer Now for the remainder of the 2023 season. For road matches, we will be hosting a reaction show after each match on PSN’s YouTube Channel and/or as part of the Sounding Off on Soccer Podcast, featuring instant analysis. For Hounds home matches, all post match reaction coverage will continue to feature interviews with coach Lilley, players and reaction from the Pittsburgh Soccer Now coverage team.
We also look forward to hosting various shows and content at the Pub, and also be involved with watch parties for some of the non-Riverhounds related soccer events over the course of the year, including the Women’s World Cup and UEFA Champions League.
The Pub, managed by Jesse DiRenzo, has become a hidden gem of sorts for Pittsburgh soccer fans in the past few years. In fact, they’ll be hosting the Steel Army viewing party for this week’s road match at El Paso on Saturday night. The pub is a true neighborhood bar, and has boasted the rowdiest fans and a great beer list!