Pittsburgh Riverhounds (1-5-3, 6 points) vs Charleston Battery (5-3-3, 18 pts)
The Pittsburgh Riverhounds will bring back last season’s leading scorer Rob Vincent, on loan from DC United, for this one game.
In the short term, for a team that has had a hard time generating scoring chances in the final third, having Vincent back for one game will help with the attack as they strive for three important points.
The Riverhounds remain near the bottom of USL’s Eastern Conference standings and every game counts as they try to make an effort to climb back in contention for playoff spot.
After losing their first four home games, the Hounds finally broke through for a win two weeks ago against Toronto FC II, thanks mostly to superb play of Lebo Moloto.
In the past few years, the Hounds have not fared well against the Battery.
Despite a strong effort at Charleston on April 30, as the teams played to a 1-1 draw, Charleston have owned the series, including holding a 2-0-1 edge in 2015.
As far as roster updates, the Hounds will be without Columbus Crew loanee Marshall Hollingsworth (concussion) as he has yet to be cleared to play.
MORE ON THE BATTERY
The Battery had a 29-game unbeaten string at home ended last week in losing to first-place Louisville City 2-0.
They will be without leading scorer Romario Williams (6 goals), as he is sitting out due to suspension.
Despite the loss to Louisville City, the Battery remain one of the top teams in USL, having won its previous three games as they have surged into a familiar spot near the top of the standings.
In addition to Williams, Battery assistant coach Dusty Hudock will also be serving a one-game suspension.
TACTICS & STRATEGIES
The big question will be — how will the Hounds utilized Rob Vincent, who had only Friday to train with the team?
Based on some of comments coming from practices this week, few of those with the Riverhounds are concerned with Vincent’s ability to fit in, as he has played with most of the core group of players in the midfield: Kevin Kerr, Mike Green and Stephen Okai.
In the first game under new coach Dave Brandt, at New York Red Bulls II, the Riverhounds couldn’t find the back of the net as they were outshot 17-5, and were not able to set up any corner kicks.
Brandt had another week to work with the team, as he is implementing a new system, so we will see if we see more sustained commitment to high pressure.
In this system, the Hounds will try to increase the pace of play. We didn’t see a lot of that against NYRBII. Charleston presents a bit of a different challenge, as they continue to be one of the stronger defensive outfits in the USL.
Without Romario Williams, the Battery’s leading scorer who is serving a suspension, the Battery attack may be lacking — especially in the box.