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 Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC

Preview: Hounds at Phoenix Rising FC

April 18, 2024 - United Soccer League Championship (USL)
Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC News Release

The Riverhounds are on the road once more - their fourth away match in six to begin the season - with another trip to the Southwest to face Phoenix Rising FC in a late-night tilt Saturday.

Despite being two of the perennial contenders in the Eastern and Western Conference, the Hounds and Phoenix have only met once the past decade, the Hounds' 1-0 win last season at Highmark Stadium. Prior to that, the teams played a home-and-home series in 2014, which accounted for the Hounds' only previous trip to Arizona.

Though the teams have not played frequently, new coach Danny Stone signed and inherited a number of players the Hounds are familiar with from the Eastern Conference, including goalkeeper Rocco Rios Novo (Atlanta United 2), versatile defender/midfielder Laurence Wyke (Tampa Bay Rowdies, Atlanta), playmaker Panos Armenekas (Loudoun United) and defender Edgardo Rito (New York Red Bulls II, Hartford Athletic), to name a few.

Low-scoring games have been the trend for Phoenix. Apart from the one outlier, a wild 3-3 draw with Tulsa, Phoenix's other five matches have all finished with a 1-0 score - two wins and three losses - as the team is finding its footing with their new coach.

The Hounds, of course, are coming off a pair of 0-0 draws, last Saturday at Rhode Island and the weekend before against Tampa Bay. The defense has solidified with the back three of Illal Osumanu, Pat Hogan and Luke Biasi maintaining the back line, and goalkeeper Eric Dick has his first two clean sheets with the Hounds after a two- and a three-save performance.

Chances have been there for the Hounds attack in both matches, most notably in the Tampa Bay game when the team outshot the visitors 16-6 and had nearly three times the touches in the opponents' box. It also took a Team of the Week performance from Rhode Island goalkeeper Jackson Lee to keep both Edward Kizza and Emmanuel Johnson from finding the net late, but the Hounds know the goals will come if they continue to produce quality chances.

As seems to be commonplace each week, Kenardo Forbes is on the cusp of another milestone entering the game, this one a league record.

With 70 more minutes played, Forbes will reach the USL Championship record for regular-season minutes, matching the 21,237 of former Hounds teammate Hugh Roberts. With Roberts currently playing for Charlotte in USL League One, Forbes will take the No. 1 spot soon, but Indy Eleven midfielder Aodhan Quinn - the only other active player with 20,000 Championship minutes - is only 331 minutes behind the record himself and giving chase.

The late-night start - a 7:30 local kickoff in Phoenix means a 10:30 start time in Pittsburgh - will be the team's second match to air on SportsNet Pittsburgh. The game can also be streamed on ESPN+.

Match info

Riverhounds (0-3-2) at Phoenix Rising FC (2-3-1)

Date: Saturday, April 20

Time: 10:30 p.m.

Location: Phoenix Rising Soccer Stadium, Phoenix, Ariz.

Odds: Hounds +300 / Draw +240 / Phoenix -115

TV: SportsNet Pittsburgh

Streaming: ESPN+

Live statistics: USL Championship Match Center

Live updates: @RiverhoundsSC on Twitter

Match hashtags: #PHXvPIT and #HOUNDTAHN

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