BREAKING DOWN THE HOUNDS: Going for sweep of front-running Charleston #PGHvCHS

Riverhounds (5-7-7) vs. Charleston Battery (10-4-5)
7:01 p.m.
Highmark Stadium
• VideoUSL YouTube
• Boxscore: USL Match Center
• Media notesBattery Hounds

For complete coverage — follow @pghsoccerscribe on Twitter and live on DK Pittsburgh Sports in-game updates.

• The Riverhounds return home after scrapping to three consecutive road draws, including two scoreless affairs at Orlando City and Rochester, along with a 1-1 tussle at Bethlehem.

• Despite these results, the Hounds continue to struggle to score goals – with only six goals in the past ten games. Earlier this week, this prompted me to write this detailed analysis — Where are the Hounds’ goals? — on the limited production.

USL Soccer: Pittsburgh Riverhounds vs Charleston Battery
Pittsburgh Riverhounds vs. Charleston Battery at MUSC Health Stadium in Charleston, S.C. on Saturday, April 8, 2017. Zach Bland Photo

• This will be the second and final meeting between the two USL “Old Guard” rivals this season. The Hounds have already beaten the Battery in their lone encounter earlier this season, with the Hounds battling back for a 2-1 win on April 8, as a late header by Corey Hertzog from a pinpoint Kevin Kerr cross at MUSC Health Stadium in stoppage time gave them their second win against Charleston in 15 head-to-head meetings since the beginning of the 2011 season.

• The Hounds continue to hang along the outside of the playoff line in 11th place with 22 points, tied with Orlando City and trailing Harrisburg (23 points) and NY Red Bulls II (24 points) for the 8th and last spot.

• Pittsburgh is the final stop of a three-game road swing for the Battery who enter the match atop the USL’s Eastern Conference with 35 points, but have lost two consecutive games at Tampa Bay and St. Louis FC. They’ve struggled without league-leading goal scorer Romario Williams in the the past two weeks. Williams has been with the Jamaican National Team, who have reached the CONCACAF Gold Cup Final against the United States later Wednesday evening.

• While Williams is out, and another regular threat in the Battery attack, Dante Marini, remains injured, a new player the Hounds will have to watch out for is Atlanta United Academy product Lagos Kunga, who has joined Charleston on a one-year deal. Lagos made his debut in the Battery’s 2-0 loss to Tampa Bay, on the left wing to fill in for Marini.

• The Hounds injury report only lists Rich Balchan (Out for Season – Achilles). Goalkeeper Trey Mitchell returned to his first action in more than a month, by posting a clean sheet in the scoreless draw at Rochester. Marshall Hollingsworth also came back as a second half sub for his first action since early July against the Rhinos.

• The Pittsburgh Chapter of the American Outlaws (US National Team Supporters Group) will be hosting a watch party after the Hounds game in the Highmark Stadium pub for the Gold Cup Final between the Reggae Boyz and the United States. Kickoff is slated for 9:30 p.m.

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