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US Open Cup Round of 16 Draw: Hounds hoping (again) for home match vs MLS opponent

The last time Riverhounds SC hosted a MLS side came in June 2015, vs DC United. File photo courtesy Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC

The Riverhounds SC pulled off their first win vs an MLS opponent since 2001 on Tuesday, beating New England Revolution, 1-0.

The Hounds will learn their fate when US Soccer conducts its draw for the final four Pods (2 p.m. Thursday), as the tournament reaches the Round of 16 (Fifth Round).

Shortly after the win, Pittsburgh Soccer Now reached out to Hounds Head Coach Bob Lilley, and received the following response.

“Hope we get an MLS team at home the next round,” Lilley exclaimed.

“It’s been a while.”

Pittsburgh has been placed in the same pod with the New York Red Bulls, Columbus Crew and FC Cincinnati.  The random draw will determine the match-ups, and which teams will host the matches.

After defeating the Maryland Bobcats in the tournament’s Third Round, Lilley, made it clear, he would love nothing more than to host a MLS team at Highmark Stadium.

“We want to give the fans an opportunity to see our guys against an MLS team and test ourselves in that situation,” Lilley said.

The Hounds have history with Columbus and Cincinnati, facing each on the road as MLS opponents, in 2019 (1-0 loss to the Crew), and in 2022 (2-0 loss in extra time to FCC).  They also lost to FC Cincy, 3-1, when they were in USLC, in 2018, in a third round match at Highmark Stadium.

While Pittsburgh does not have a history of facing the NY Red Bulls, they have played against Red Bulls II many times as an Eastern Conference rival from 2014 through 2021.

As you may recall, the last time Pittsburgh hosted a MLS club, was against DC United in June 2015.  It was a memorable match that went to extra time, played before an overflow crowd, but Pittsburgh lost, 3-1.


Of the 16 teams remaining, 14 are Major League Soccer clubs, with just the Riverhounds SC and its Eastern Conference foe Birmingham Legion FC remaining from the USL Championship.

Ironically, the Hounds will face Birmingham on Saturday night at Highmark Stadium in league action.


Fun Hounds’ Open Cup Factoids

  • In the Highmark Stadium era (since 2013), the Hounds have posted an 12-8 overall record in the Open Cup. (this includes its 2nd round forfeit win vs Rochester NY FC).
  • All-time, the Hounds are 17-17 overall in the Open Cup.
  • The club the Hounds have faced the most in Open Cup?  None other than former Old Guard Shield rival Rochester (losses in 2000, 2008, 2009, 2010).  The forfeit win in 2023 technically was its first ever against Rochester in the competition.
  • Other clubs the Hounds have faced more than once in the Open Cup
    • Chicago Fire (2001 & 2014)
    • DC United (2003 & 2015)
    • Michigan Bucks (2006 & 2012)
    • RWB Adria (2013 & 2014)
    • FC Cincinnati (2018 & 2022)
    • Maryland Bobcats (2022 & 2023)
  • In seven matches vs MLS opponents, the Hounds have posted a 2-6 record
    • The Hounds’ wins vs MLS foes came vs Colorado Rapids (2-0) on June 27, 2001, at Bethel Park Stadium and vs New England Revolution, 1-0, on May 9, 2023, at Gillette Stadium.
    • Three of their losses came in matches that went to Extra Time (3-2 loss vs Chicago in 2001, 3-1 loss vs DC United in 2015 and 2-1 loss at FC Cincinnati in 2022)
  • Against lower division teams, the Hounds have mixed success with an overall record of 10-7
    • After losing to Fourth Division Chicago FC United in 2017 and amateurs’ Landsdowne Bhoys in 2016, the Hounds have rebounded in the Bob Lilley era with wins against the Erie Commodores (2018) and Dayton Dutch Lions (2019), Maryland Bobcats (2022 and 2023).
    • In the Bob Lilley era, the Hounds are 7-3 in the Open Cup, with losses coming to FC Cincinnati (in 3rd Round in 2018 and 3rd Round in 2022) and Columbus Crew (in 4th Round in 2019). Wins have come versus Erie, Dayton, Indy Eleven (2019), Maryland Bobcats (2022 & 2023), Rochester (2023) and New England (2023).


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).

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