With Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC’s second home game this Saturday, the team stands second in Group F.
The Hounds (2-2-0) will aim to leave the .500 club this weekend, as they face Philadelphia Union II (0-3-1), which they previously dominated for a 6-0 victory.
“It’s obviously important to defend our home turf and now we have a chance this weekend to get a result against Philly and put ourselves one up on the win column and move on to the next game,” head coach Bob Lilley said.
After a couple losses the past two games against New York Red Bulls II and Indy Eleven, the team is recovering from a three-game stretch over nine days.
Lilley said he would like to see the team get more fit physically for the entirety of playing time and hold on to the ball better.
As the team continues to mix players in the lineup, the first part of the season will serve as an opportunity to strengthen on-field chemistry.
“We’re really big on making sure we’re taking steps forward as a group as quickly as we can,” Lilley said. “I think every team is trying to ramp up. Before we turn around we’re going to be at the midpoint.”
With a quick 16 game season to produce positive results, the Hounds are working tirelessly to maintain physical fitness and skill.
Defender Thomas Vancaeyezeele said he uses the fan support to stay positive during these uncertain times, saying that the fan-made signs hung in the stadium for the first home game made him smile.
“This season is really short, so we have to stay motivated to win games and earn points,” Vancaeyezeele said. “So, with or without fans, we have to be our best on the field. It’s not as easy without fans, because with the Steel Army behind us we play more aggressive.”
The France native said he believes the beginning of the game this weekend will be most important to help the team come off of previous losses.
Both Vancaeyezeele and Lilley feel that the team has not reached its peak defensively yet, the three-year Hounds teammate saying the team has been watching film to get better.
“We have experienced players, and a lot of them have played for coach Lilley before, so we know what the coach wants,” Vancaeyezeele said. “We just need to apply it on Saturday."