Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC (0-0-0) travels to North Carolina to open its season against the Charlotte Independence (1-0-0) at 7 p.m. this Saturday at Sportsplex at Matthews. As the Hounds look to build on last season’s success, here are a few things to look for ahead of Saturday’s matchup.
The Independence got the better of the Riverhounds in Charlotte last season.
Although the Riverhounds got the last laugh, finishing atop the Eastern Conference, but look to make right on last season’s away loss.
When the two teams faced off in Pittsburgh, the Hounds struggled to capitalize on several great opportunities. Their defense was stellar (as always), but looks to come out of the gates firing on Saturday.
2.) REGULAR SEASON POINT STREAK
The Hounds have gained a point in each of their last 11 regular season games, and in 17 of their last 19.
The last true loss was at the hands of North Carolina FC on Aug. 17. The last time before that? In Charlotte, courtesy of the Independence, on July 7.
The Hounds look to avenge their only loss in July last season.
3.) NEW FACES
It’s no secret that the Hounds will feature many veterans that look to make an instant impact.
Tomas Gomez, for instance, has experience playing under head coach Bob Lilley. He won two Golden Gloves Awards during his two seasons playing for Lilley at the Rochester Rhinos.
Ropapa Mensah brings the ability to score at a high level. Mensah scored six goals for Nashville SC last season, tied for second on the team.
Dakota Barnathan brings previous USL Championship experience to Pittsburgh. He started all four of Sporting Kansas City II’s postseason games during their title-game run.
Tony Walls, captain of the Rhinos during their championship-winning run, gained All-League First Team honors in 2015. He logged 24 appearances for the Chattanooga Red Wolves of USL League One last season.
Lastly, Skylar Thomas brings 95 games of USL Championship experience to the Hounds. His last stint was for the Charleston Battery in 2017-18, making 48 appearances in two seasons.