BREAKING DOWN THE HOUNDS: League leading Louisville City returns

 

Riverhounds (8-8-10) vs. Louisville City FC (14-5-5)
7:02 p.m.
Highmark Stadium
Video: USL YouTube

Boxscore: USL Match Center

For John Krysinsky’s game coverage you can follow updates on twitter @pghsoccerscribe and on DK Pittsburgh Sports’ live game file.

DK

• The Riverhounds will be looking to extend its unbeaten streak to six games, as they aim to knock off the USL Eastern Conference’s front-running Louisville City FC. The streaking Hounds are hoping to turn the tide against Louisville City, who’ve already beaten them twice this year, including a 3-0 trouncing at Slugger Field on June 17.

• Here’s my most recent look at the USL’s Eastern Conference playoff race with six weeks remaining. The Hounds sit one point out of the eighth and final playoff spot, but with a win could move all the way up to 6th place. Louisville City are deadlocked with Charlotte Independence for the top spot in the standings, and can surge ahead on Saturday with a result. Charlotte’s match at third-place Charleston scheduled for Saturday evening has been postponed due to Hurricane Irma.

• No current active Hounds players are on this week’s injury list, with only the players listed out for the season on the report: Rich BalchanKeasel BroomeShane Campbell and Trey Mitchell.

• With the exception of the goalkeeper position, as Matt Perrella has started the past two matches in place of injured Mitchell and Broome, Hounds Head Coach Dave Brandt has started the same 10 field position players in the past four games — and with a healthy roster, we’ll probably see much of the same.  This line-up has featured Corey Hertzog and Chevy Walsh at forward, with Kevin Kerr and Romeo Parkes as attacking midfielders, Victor Soutoand Stephen Okai in the central midfield and a back line of Jamal Jack and Tobi Adewole at center back, Taylor Washington and Ritchie Duffie as the outside backs. When Duffie struggled in last week’s 1-1 draw at FC Cincinnati, Brandt brought in Gale Agbossoumonde, in the second half to pair up with Jack in the central defense, with Adewole sliding to right back. Despite bringing 20-year old Shannon Gomez on loan from NYCFC, Brandt has only used him as a late game sub twice in the past five games. Earlier this week, when the USL released its discipline report, Adewole, Jack and veteran midfielder Danny Earls were on the list of players who have four yellow cards, and could receive an automatic one-game suspension if they pick up another yellow card.

• Hertzog, who leads the team with 11 goals, has scored four times in the last three games, including two goals at Saint Louis FC, and goals in each of the past two games against Bethlehem Steel FC and at Cincinnati. The Reading, PA native and former Penn State standout now has 24 career goals for the Hounds – the most by a U.S.-born player in club history.

• Louisville City FC has been a USL-title contending team since making its league debut in 2015. In each of hte past three seasons they’ve been under the direction of Irishman James O’Connor, who in his playing days made more than 300 appearances for English clubs, Stoke City, West Bromwich Albion and Burnley. With a plus-21 goal differential this season, and without a player in the top 10 of USL’s top goal scorers, the former hard-nosed player, who finished out his playing career with USL version of Orlando City, has a well-balanced club with a solid back line and a strong midfield that features a host of USL veterans, including former Robert Morris standout Devon “Speedy” Williams, a one-time Hound Brian OwnbyGuy AbendNiall McCabe and George Davis IV. The player that’s been the most dangerous for Lou City in the past month has been forward Luke Spencer, who has recorded six goals and three assists in the past month as Louisville moved to the top of the Eastern Conference standings behind the powerful forward’s all-around play.

• This will be Louisville City’s third match this year at Highmark Stadium. On May 17 they defeated local amateur club Tartan Devils FC, 9-0, in the second round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, then beat the Hounds three nights later, 1-0.

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