Riverhounds (6-2-1) vs. El Paso Locomotive FC (4-5-1)
Date: Saturday, May 14
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Highmark Stadium
Odds: Hounds -103 / Draw +275 / El Paso +195 (Bet Rivers)
TV: 22 The Point
Live statistics: USL Championship Match Center
Live updates: @RiverhoundsSC on Twitter
Match hashtag: #PITvELP
PITTSBURGH (May 14, 2022) — With back-to-back league matches for the first time all season, the Hounds hope to keep their Highmark Stadium momentum going when they meet El Paso Locomotive FC for the first time.
The Hounds are coming off a 1-0 win over Birmingham Legion FC that was tilted a bit more in the home team’s favor than the final score indicated. Danny Griffin scored the only goal in the fourth minute, but the Hounds held 57 percent of possession, won a season-high nine corner kicks and held the Legion without a single shot on goal.
One goal might not be enough against a surging Locomotive team that has gone 4-1-1 since dropping its opening four matches of the season. No team has scored more goals than the Locomotive’s 24 this season, and the relatively new USL Championship side holds the distinction of being undefeated against Eastern Conference teams, which includes wins already this season over Tulsa and Loudoun.
The Locomotive’s attack is led by Luis Solignac (five goals, two assists) and Dylan Mares (four goals, three assists) and features dynamic 18-year-old U.S. Youth International Diego Luna (three goals, two assists). As if those weren’t enough weapons, it will also be a return to Pittsburgh for former Hounds winger Christiano François.
While El Paso hasn’t had trouble finding the net and converting a consistently high possession number, they have also been vulnerable going the other direction with 17 goals conceded. But Hounds coach Bob Lilley cautioned that El Paso’s xG metric — a measure of the expected number of goals a team should give up based on play — is much lower and only a couple goals worse than the Hounds xG number, indicating the Locomotive has been a bit unlucky or has run into some good finishing.
The Hounds hope their finishing takes a step forward after getting just one goal despite plentiful chances last week. The return of Dane Kelly from a one-match suspension should help in that department, as the USL Championship’s all-time goal scorer remains in a three-way tie atop the 2022 leaders with six goals thus far.
With that suspension served and a clean bill of health, Lilley will have a full squad to select from. How much he rotates from a week ago is yet to be seen, however, as he was reasonably happy with the win over Birmingham, and his team doesn’t face another two-match week on their schedule until the start of July.
Gates will open at 6 p.m. for the match, and the Tailgate Zone will fire into action at 5 p.m. DJ TJ Harris will be back on the music, and food trucks lining up this week will be The Sandwich Guy and Revival Chili.