BREAKING DOWN THE HOUNDS: U.S. Open Cup Returns To Pittsburgh

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Lansdowne Bhoys come to Highmark Stadium with a lot of confidence. (Photo courtesy Lansdownebhoysfc.com)

U.S. Open Cup Second Round

Pittsburgh Riverhounds (USL 0-4-3) vs Lansdowne Bhoys FC (Yonkers, NY)

Wednesday, May 18 – 7 p.m. Kickoff – Highmark Stadium

Winner takes on the winner of Rochester Rhinos (USL) vs Southie FC (Mass) on June 1

There is no Live Video Feed for this game – Follow Pittsburgh Soccer Report’s John Krysinsky for in-game updates on Twitter.

#PGHvLBFC KEY STORYLINES

The Riverhounds are looking for a win — against anyone.

And Lansdowne Bhoys, an amateur club based just North of New York City, are looking to for the upset to extend its first-ever appearance in the U.S. Open Cup to three games after knocking off the Long Island Rough Riders last week.

In each of the previous two seasons, the Riverhounds have made runs in the U.S. Open Cup that have gone three games — ending with losses to Major League Soccer teams – Chicago Fire and D.C. United.

In 2014, much like this year, the Hounds entered the Open Cup without a win in league play, and Jose Angulo rebounded in his first game back after the passing of his father to score to lead the Hounds past the NY Red Bulls U-23 team.

The Hounds are optimistic that a positive result will help jump start a turnaround to what’s been a rough season thus far, after a 0-4-3 run that has them sitting near the bottom of the USL’s Eastern Conference standings.

MORE ON LANSDOWNE BHOYS FC

imageAn Irish-based amateur soccer club that has become a staple in the Yonkers, NY community that may be best known to outsiders for its racetrack and casino which ironically has large investment stake by members from a Pittsburgh family that you may have heard of — the Rooneys.  The team’s president is also well-known in U.S. and Irish soccer community — ESPN soccer commentator Tommy Smyth.

The Landsdowne Bhoys are ready for the Riverhounds after winning their first-ever U.S. Open Cup game in a dramatic 2-1 win — on a penalty kick in the 125th minute last Wednesday on Long Island.

“We will respect any team, but we won’t fear anyone, ” Austin Friel, Lansdowne Bhoys Head Coach.

“We have talent on this squad and many of my guys can play in the USL on any team.”

Lansdowne has competed in the Cosmo Soccer League since 1997 and have experienced their greatest success to date recently, nabbing league titles in each of the past two seasons. Their road to qualification for the U.S. Open Cup came thanks to victories over Newtown Pride of Connecticut and Worcester FC of Massachusetts in the fall of 2015.

For more on the history and background of the Lansdowne Bhoys — you can read COMMUNITY CLUB LANSDOWNE BHOYS EYES GIANT KILLER SUCCESS IN 2016 U.S. OPEN CUP on U.S. Soccer’s website.

TACTICS & STRATEGIES

The Riverhounds have to score early and dominate possession — and not make Lansdowne Bhoys feel that they have any kind of chance.

This is a classic U.S. Open match between professional team that’s been training together since late Winter, against a group of players who may know each other well, have chemistry — and might be close in caliber of play and level of skill, but now work other jobs and don’t aspire to play professionally any longer.  Of course, match fitness might be an issue, but Lansdowne have already played 120 minute game last week — and prevailed against a well-established club in the Rough Riders.

The longer these games go where the score remains close, and underdog teams have a chance to score on a counter or mistake — the more pressure will be on the favorite — who in this scenario is the Riverhounds.

In the two matches in 2013 and 2014 against a strong amateur side, the Hounds couldn’t shake a pesky RWB Adria, who kept things very compact and despite being outshot both times found a way to force games into the overtime periods, which the Hounds eventually won.

While these matches are always a good way to get some guys on the field that have not played a lot this year — the Hounds know that they have to keep trying to get the right chemistry and put a strong team on the field.

A year ago, in the second round against the WV Chaos, they won 3-0, thanks to early goals by two of their top players — Rob Vincent and Lebo Moloto.

Having a strong team — starts in the middle of the field — with the center back tandem of Sergio Campbell and Willie Hunt — and rookie goalkeeper Mauricio Vargas — who all played well and will need to continue to play minutes together to build chemistry and communication.

Among the Hounds players that have seen limited minutes, that would be worth seeing include Caleb Posterwait and Karsten Smith in the back — and Nicky KolaracAlex Harlley, James Bissue in the middle along with Duwayne Ewalt at forward.

It might also be a good game to get Ben Swanson some additional playing time as he’s played well in a few games at central midfield.

If the Hounds offensive struggles continue in this game, then they really might be doomed this season.

 

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