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Pittsburgh Riverhounds

Preview: After escape act in Hartford, Riverhounds SC set for road duel with defending champs in San Antonio

Photo courtesy Hartford Athletic

The Riverhounds escaped from Hartford with three points on Wednesday night, after somehow blowing a three-goal lead to the last place Hartford Athletic, JC Obregon’s brilliant strike pushed Pittsburgh to a 4-3 win, and a comfortable (for now) lead atop the Eastern Conference standings.

Now, they’ll have to face the defending league champions, and one of the best teams in the Western Conference this season, San Antonio FC, who are unbeaten in their last four matches (4-0-1), and trail leaders Sacramento by one mere point.


With 27 wins and 97 points in the standings between them, the matchup is critical in the race for the top spot in each conference.

It’s also an important match if each team wants to secure home field throughout the Championship playoffs. Though the Hounds have the most points in the league currently at 50, Tampa Bay in the East and both San Antonio and Sacramento out West have enough games in hand to close the gap, meaning the Hounds need to keep the pressure on and get points from head-to-head battles like Saturday’s.

San Antonio is a significantly different team than a season ago, when they had the league’s best defensive record and a penchant for grinding out close games like their 1-0 win in Pittsburgh last Oct. 1. While still solid on the back line with 26 goals allowed in 25 games, San Antonio this year is the top-scoring team in the Championship at nearly two per game — 49 goals in 25 matches.

The co-leaders of the Golden Boot race will both be on the field Saturday. San Antonio’s Tani Oluwaseyi and the Hounds’ Albert Dikwa both have 14 goals on the season, and both have done it in well under the possible number of games. Oluwaseyi has played 16 matches for San Antonio since debuting on loan from Minnesota United on May 7, while Dikwa has played 21 of the Hounds’ 27 matches after missing time with a broken collarbone suffered in June.

Whether either player can add to their goal total is yet to be seen, but goals have not come easy in the two previous meetings between the teams. The teams met for the first time at Toyota Field in 2021, when Alex Dixon scored in the 90th minute to salvage a draw, while last year’s 1-0 meeting in Pittsburgh was settled by an 86th minute goal from Carter Manley.

Dixon’s late header salvages a road draw for Hounds at San Antonio

Each team will have some player availability concerns to deal with entering the match. For the Hounds, the injury report remains unchanged (Tony Lopez is OUT (knee) and Illal Osumanu is QUESTIONABLE (ankle), but coming off a Wednesday road match in Hartford, expect some tinkering in Bob Lilley‘s lineup after traveling directly from New England to the Lone Star State. San Antonio, meanwhile, is without the services of assists leader Jorge Hernández, who was sent off with a second caution from the team’s scoreless draw last weekend against Monterey Bay. In addition, four players enter the match with a questionable tag on San Antonio’s injury report, including former Hounds defender Connor Maloney (upper body) and a dangerous attacking option off the bench, Justin Dhillon (illness).


Riverhounds (14-5-8) vs. San Antonio FC (13-4-8)
Date: Saturday, Aug. 26
Time: 9 p.m.
Location: Toyota Field, San Antonio, Texas
Odds: Hounds +280 / Draw +250 / San Antonio -115 (FanDuel)
TV: Pittsburgh’s CW
Streaming: ESPN+ (national), Pittsburgh’s CW (local)
Live statistics: USL Championship Match Center
Live updates: @RiverhoundsSC on Twitter
Match hashtags: #SAvPIT and #HOUNDTAHN

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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