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What2Watch4: Tampa Bay - 7/13

By Jake Santo, 07/10/19, 11:45AM EDT

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Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC (6-3-7) will take on a challenging foe in the Tampa Bay Rowdies (11-1-6) at 7 p.m. this upcoming Saturday at Highmark Stadium. The Riverhounds lost their first matchup against Tampa Bay earlier this season, 2-0, in St. Petersburg, Florida. Coming off their first loss in league play since June 1, the Hounds will look to rebound.

Climbing in the Standings

The Riverhounds have climbed into the eighth position in the USL Championship Eastern Conference standings since their recent winning streak began back in June. After the quick turnaround from the Fourth of July matchup against Bethlehem, the Hounds were defeated by Charlotte, 1-0, on Sunday. Pittsburgh will need to protect its home field to continue the assent up the standings with a full week’s rest.

Net Protection

Both keepers for Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay have been stellar in recent play for their respective clubs. Tampa Bay’s goalkeeper John McCarthy has only allowed 10 total goals this season, with a save percentage of .811 percent. For Pittsburgh, Kyle Morton has turned his season around, allowing just one goal in his last four starts. Look for the performance of these two probable starters to be a key for both teams’ success.

Some Record Has to Give

The Rowdies have yet to lose on the road in USL Championship league play this season with a combined record of 6-0-2. However, Pittsburgh has yet to lose at home in USL Championship league play this season with a combined record of 4-0-4. Unless the match ends in a draw, one team will have a one in the loss category.

Refinding the Scoresheet

With the Riverhounds' recent winning streak, scoring was at a premium for the boys in Black and Gold. During the recent four-game winning stretch, Pittsburgh had 13 total goals. However, since entering July, Pittsburgh has only scored one goal in two matches this month. Look for Pittsburgh to return to its scoring ways if they seek to be successful against Tampa Bay.

By the Numbers: 7

This marks the seventh all-time matchup between the Riverhounds and Rowdies. Tampa Bay was not a part of the USL Championship until 2017, when it made the jump from the North American Soccer League. The Rowdies will be looking for their first-ever victory against Pittsburgh in the Steel City.

Key to Victory: Production in Front

Tampa Bay is averaging 0.6 goals allowed per game this season, one of the lowest marks in the entire league. On the other hand, 24 of 28 Riverhounds' goals scored this season have come within the 18-yard box. Pittsburgh will need to create traffic in front to execute on scoring opportunities against the Rowdies.