Riverhounds (5-2-1) vs. Birmingham Legion FC (3-3-3)
Date: Saturday, May 7
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Highmark Stadium
Odds: Hounds +102 / Draw +260 / Birmingham +195 (Bet Rivers)
TV: 22 The Point
Live statistics: USL Championship Match Center
Live updates: @RiverhoundsSC on Twitter
Match hashtag: #PITvBHM
PITTSBURGH (May 7, 2022) — After another setback on the road last week at Louisville, the Hounds are back at home and out to keep their perfect record at Highmark Stadium intact when they host Birmingham Legion FC tonight.
The Hounds have won all four matches — three in the league and one in the cup — at Highmark this season, most recently a 4-0 win over Atlanta United 2 on April 23. That represents the most recent matches of a 12-match unbeaten run at home dating back to last season, which is now the second-longest such streak since the team moved into their South Shore home.
On the topic of Highmark Stadium history, today’s match holds the distinction of being the 150th competitive Hounds match at the venue. The Hounds are 69-39-41 all-time at Highmark at this early point in their 10th season since moving into their soccer-specific home.
One thing match No. 150 won’t include is a Dane Kelly goal. The Hounds’ top scorer in 2022 and an April finalist for USL Championship Player of the Month is suspended for the match after being sent off for making contact with a high forearm last Saturday against Louisville. Surprisingly, the send off was categorized as violent conduct despite the fact Kelly was making a challenge for the ball — that normally would be termed serious foul play — but he still received the minimum suspension after the league’s review of the incident.
That leaves the offense at the feet of Albert Dikwa (four goals) and Russell Cicerone (two goals), amongst others, but the Hounds have been potent even when Kelly isn’t on the field. The team enters the game averaging two goals per game in USL play, tied for third-most in the league.
Birmingham, on the other hand, is still trying to find its offensive stride with just eight goals in nine games, three coming from top scorer Prosper Kasim. But the Legion have been a tough outfit to break down with just 10 goals allowed, which is why they have a perfectly .500 record at 3-3-3.
Among the back line players for the Legion are two former Hounds, Thomas Vancaeyezeele and Ryan James. This will be the first match for both against the Hounds since departing, and it will be the first time the Hounds have faced Birmingham at all since 2019 because of the pandemic realignment of the past two seasons.
Prior to the match, the Tailgate Zone will be open at 5 p.m. with music from DJ TJ Harris, food from Uncle Rick’s Smokehouse and The Sandwich Guy. Gates will open at 6 p.m., and tickets are still available via Ticketmaster. The match will air locally on 22 The Point and be streamed via ESPN+.