After a one-game home stand, the Riverhounds (1-2-1) hit the road to clash with the Charlotte Independence (0-1-1) at 7 p.m. this Saturday. Like its last road trip, Pittsburgh carries a streak of one loss into the match. The Hounds will try to repeat history, as they previously bounced back with a win in enemy territory.
Change of heart
When the Eastern Conference foes last met, defender Joe Greenspan opposed the Hounds. Greenspan recorded 90 minutes with Charlotte in that match on Sept. 10, 2016. Now he changes course and will don the Black and Gold for Saturday’s game. The 6-foot-6-inch center back helped solidify the Hounds’ defense last time out against Saint Louis FC, as he tallied three tackles and six clearances. Greenspan will look to have a similar impact against his old team this Saturday.
A developing rookie tandem
Rookies Victor Souto and Kay Banjo have played key roles thus far in Pittsburgh’s 2017 campaign. Souto has held down the midfield, playing every minute this season and serving as a catalyst to the Hounds’ counterattack. On the other hand, Banjo has mainly been used as a substitute, only starting the Hounds’ match against Saint Louis FC – a game in which he scored his first professional goal. Both Souto and Banjo have become integral parts to the team and will look to build upon the successes of their rookie seasons.
For the first time this season, the Hounds did not record a yellow card in their match against Saint Louis FC this past Wednesday. Furthermore, Pittsburgh conceded only nine fouls against Saint Louis – another season low. The Black and Gold understand the importance of a clean match, having already played a man down due to a red card against FC Cincinnati on April 1. This is a trend Pittsburgh hopes to continue against Charlotte.
For the first time this season, Corey Hertzog was held to zero shots in the Hounds’ prior match against Saint Louis FC, a 2-1 defeat. Last year saw Pittsburgh go 0-5-1 in such instances. Despite the zero on the stat sheet, the forward still leads the USL with 13 shots in 2017. Expect Hertzog to bounce back this Saturday and come out firing on the frontline.
Brothers Alex and Enzo Martinez lead the Independence attack, combining for 10 goals and six assists during the 2016 campaign. This year, Alex has Charlotte’s only assist. The Hounds will need to account for this dangerous midfield duo throughout the game this weekend.