BREAKING DOWN THE HOUNDS: Pushing for playoffs

Riverhounds (7-8-9) vs. Bethlehem Steel FC (10-10-3)
7:02 p.m.
Highmark Stadium
VideoUSL YouTube
Boxscore: USL Match Center

After a seven game winless streak that extended through July and into early August, the Hounds will now be vying to finish August unbeaten and win their third straight game. In the past two games, the Hounds have scored five goals, with forwards Corey Hertzog and Chevy Walsh each scoring a pair of goals. Hertzog leads the team in goals (9), while Walsh is second (5).

The Hounds currently sit two points behind the eighth, and final playoff spot in the ultra-tight USL Eastern Conference playoff race. The Steel FC are sitting in sixth place, three points in front of Pittsburgh, so it’s conceivable with a Hounds win, they could draw even in the standings with their Keystone state foes. With eight games in eight weeks, the Hounds control their own destiny. Although the Hounds have a winning record away from home (4-3-6), they will have to play better at home (3-5-3), with five of its final eight at Highmark Stadium.

• The Steel FC will be without its top scorer Seku Conneh, who was suspended by the league for three games earlier this week. The last time the two teams faced each other at Lehigh University in July, they played to 1-1 draw, in a match that a depleted Steel squad used a number of players from Philadephia Union’s Academy team, including 16 year old goalkeeper Tomas Romaro. Steel FC’s roster includes a number of young players from the Union senior team, but also include USL veterans like 2016 All-USL First Team defender Hugh Roberts and 30-year old James Chambers, who scored the Steel’s lone goal in the draw vs the Hounds. There’s also a good chance that Union veteran and one-time U.S. Men’s National team player Maurice Edu, trying to work his way back after multiple injuries, will make the trip to Pittsburgh and be in the line-up for Bethlehem.

For complete match coverage, live updates and more, you can follow me on Twitter @pghsoccerscribe or on DK Pittsburgh Sports live game file.

DK

 

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