Riverhounds (0-0-1) vs. Memphis 901 FC (0-1-0)
Date: Saturday, March 18
Time: 5 p.m.
Location: AutoZone Park, Memphis, Tenn.
Odds: Hounds +250 / Draw +210 / Memphis +100 (Bet Rivers)
Live statistics: USL Championship Match Center
Live updates: @RiverhoundsSC on Twitter
Match hashtags: #MEMvPIT and #HOUNDTAHN
(March 17, 2023) — For the fourth time in six seasons under coach Bob Lilley, the Hounds begin their campaign with consecutive road trips as they head to the Volunteer State to face Memphis 901 FC in a late afternoon kickoff Saturday at AutoZone Park.
The Hounds’ first outing of the year resulted in a point after a 1-1 draw with Birmingham Legion FC was secured by a Robbie Mertz goal, and afterward, Lilley and his players felt good about the outcome but felt they weren’t far from taking all three points away from home.
“There were some positives,” Lilley said after the season opener. “We broke their midfield line a lot and did a good job keeping the ball, but we were not getting behind their back line. I’d like to see us take a little more risk and push play a little more. … Overall, we managed the game well but didn’t quite do enough to win it.”
The opening match gave some idea as to how the pieces will start to fit together with this year’s Hounds team, as six players made their debut with the club. Two, midfielder Junior Etou and defender Pat Hogan, were among the starting 11, and one, Tola Showunmi, made his professional debut and was denied his first professional goal by a Save of the Week candidate from Birmingham goalkeeper Matt Van Oekel. While there’s no indication any major changes are forthcoming, a little early squad rotation might be in order, as players continue to work toward 90-minute fitness and the Hounds enter their first mildly congested schedule stretch with three matches in 11 days.
On the Memphis side, the start to the season was far from ideal, as they lost at home to Loudoun United, 3-1. It was the second straight season-opening loss at home for Memphis after the Hounds took a 3-0 road win on their visit to Tennessee exactly one year and six days before this year’s matchup.
Despite the loss, Memphis remains a dangerous outfit with Phillip Goodrum, a 21-goal scorer a season ago, leading the line. Memphis also features former Hounds defender Jelani Peters in their lineup this season, but they will be shorthanded in the midfield with Ivorian veteran Laurent Kissiedou suspended for Saturday’s match after being sent off against Loudoun.
Memphis won the most recent meeting between the teams, a 2-0 result on Aug. 13, 2022, which was their first victory in the all-time series. The Hounds had won all three prior matches — the 2022 opener and two meetings in 2019 — maintaining a clean sheet in all three.
Saturday’s match will be streamed live nationally via ESPN+.
Downloadable Game Notes