Riverhounds (4-0-1) vs. Las Vegas Lights FC (3-3-0)
Date: Saturday, April 16
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Cashman Field, Las Vegas, Nev.
Odds: Hounds -152 / Draw +270 / Las Vegas +320 (BetRivers.com)
TV: 22 The Point
Live statistics: USL Championship Match Center
Live updates: @RiverhoundsSC on Twitter
Match hashtag: #LVvPIT
PITTSBURGH (April 16, 2022) — The Hounds are one of four unbeaten teams remaining in the USL Championship, and they will look to keep it that way in their first-ever meeting with Las Vegas Lights FC.
Once again, the Hounds are making a new acquaintance on the road; this will be their third consecutive road match against a first-time opponent after trips to Detroit and Tulsa over the past three weekends. And while many people travel to Vegas hoping for a big score, the attacking talent in Saturday’s game could result in the scoreboard posting some big numbers.
The three top scorers in the USL Championship could end up on the field at the same time, as Las Vegas’ Danny Trejo (five goals, four assists) and the Hounds’ Albert Dikwa and Dane Kelly (both with four goals, two assists) should be on the team sheets. Trejo has been involved in nine of the Lights’ 11 goals in their first six league matches, while the Hounds have scored 12 in just five matches — good enough to put Pittsburgh tied for third in total goals and tied for second in goals per game (2.4) league-wide.
The reason it is qualified that that three “could” be on the field at the same time boils down to a busy schedule for both teams. With a match at MLS club FC Cincinnati on Tuesday in the U.S. Open Cup, Hounds coach Bob Lilley will likely be monitoring minutes and have a rotation in mind to combat two games in a 72-hour span, so Kelly or Dikwa occupying a spot on the bench would not be a shock. The Lights have no such worries, having been bounced from the cup in the last round by USL League One’s FC Tuscon and former Hounds midfielder Louis Pérez.
The good news for the Hounds is their clean bill of health through six matches in all competitions. While only those expected to be in the side made the trip to Las Vegas, all 24 members of the squad will be taking the trip to Cincinnati on Monday, and Lilley very well could utilize every single player in some capacity over the next three games in eight days — at Vegas, at Cincy and home next Saturday against Atlanta United 2.
Another concern for Lilley and his staff — and another reason squad rotation will be key — is the change in weather the Hounds will face. After playing their first handful of matches (and nearly all of their preseason) with temperatures never rising above 55, the team faced 70-degree afternoon heat last week in Tulsa, and some signs of late fatigue showed. That means today’s match, which will kick off at 4 p.m. local time in the Pacific Time Zone, will certainly be the team’s hottest so far this year with highs projected in the low 80s.
Still, the Hounds have momentum on their side, and taking anything from the match would make this the best six-game start to a league season in club history, surpassing the team’s 4-1-1 start to the 2000 season. The match will be shown locally on 22 The Point and streamed via ESPN+.