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Riverhounds starting XI still a work in progress

Photo courtesy Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC

Pittsburgh Riverhounds head coach Bob Lilley insists that he is still some way from working out his best eleven as preseason reaches the halfway stage. 

The results of preseason games really do not matter (although if you are keeping track, the Hounds are unbeaten in preseason with a 0-0 draw and a 2-1 win against USL Championship opponents Indy Eleven and Loudon United respectively).

Now is the time to get players fit, get them used to their new teammates and work out exactly who the starting eleven is going to be when the season kicks off.

And as Bob Lilley will tell you, whilst the players have certainly made improvements from where they were when preseason first started, there is still a lot of work to do on all fronts before the team are ready to take to competitive action in the USL. 

Speaking exclusively to Pittsburgh Soccer Now, he opened up about the work that the team has been doing in the first two and a half weeks of preseason and how things are shaping up with the regular season less than a month away: 

“We have a lot of work to do, but we’re further along now. I think we’re a little bit more understanding of how each other plays because there’s new guys in here, we’re still working hard to put in some of our ideas, to refresh for guys that are back, but also the new guys to make sure we’re on page tactically as as a group. But I think the players have a good feel for each other, the energy and training has been good and I think overall, we’re pretty happy where we’re at at this point.”

With a far-from-perfect roster in preseason, with some players still not available due to paperwork issues, injury or coming in fresh as trialists, putting together a starting eleven isn’t a straightforward task, and as Lilley puts it, he probably won’t know who his best starters are until the regular season is well underway:

“We won’t even know who our best 11 is after 10 games. We’ll know all the guys that we trust to put on the field and it’ll be more than 11, but we’ll rotate and guys will get chances and how they perform in the early stages of the season will start to give us the final info. 

“We gather a lot of information in preseason but the best information is once you start playing games that count. We’re going to be deep, we’ve got more than 11 guys that are going to have to help us to win games so we know early in the season we’ll have plenty of squad rotation and then it’s up to the guys to put out good performances and make their argument why they should be in the lineup.”

Glory on the Grass

Riverhounds MF Kenardo Forbes

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