Entering Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup play in the second round, Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC will hit the road to battle Erie Commodores FC at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at McConnell Family Stadium in Erie, Pennsylvania. As the Hounds ready for their first test in the one-game elimination tournament, here’s the past and present of Pittsburgh’s Open Cup narration.
How It Starts
Regularly competing in the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL), Commodores FC opened its 2018 season with Open Cup play, as league action will not start until May 19 for the club.
Erie advanced to the second round after defeating the Rochester Lancers (formerly branded as Rochester River Dogz FC) of the NPSL, 1-1 (5-4 PKs), on May 9. Cameron Philpot initially provided Commodores FC with a 1-0 lead in the 27th minute before the Lancers knotted the score at 1-1 at the end of the first half.
With this victory, Erie will now battle Riverhounds SC on Wednesday in the second round of action for their first-ever meeting.
How They’ve Scored
Two active Hounds have previously scored in the Open Cup while wearing Black and Gold.
As Pittsburgh dropped its second round match against Chicago FC United, 3-1, in 2017, Kay Banjo notched the only tally, an equalizer to even the score at 1-1, for the team in the tournament.
In addition, Kevin Kerr has scored two goals in his Open Cup career. His most recent tally in the nationwide competition occurred in 2015 during a 3-0 win against the West Virginia Chaos in the second round. The midfielder also scored in the second round during the 2014 Open Cup in the Hounds’ 3-1 victory against the New York Red Bulls (NPSL). Only Rob Vincent (4 goals) has scored more often for the Hounds in Open Cup action.
As well as Kerr and Banjo, Mouhamed Dabo has had recent scoring success in Open Cup play. Competing for Penn FC (then known as the Harrisburg City Islanders) in 2017, the midfielder scored the team’s game-winning penalty kick goal in its second round match against the Ocean City Nor’easters, as the score was still tied after extra time.
How It’s Happened
Pittsburgh has fared well in Open Cup games in Pennsylvania (8-4 record), but with one caveat – all of these games were played on its home turf. For the first time in team history, the Hounds will play a road match within state borders during the tournament.
Despite this success, the Hounds have recently faltered in Open Cup action. For the past two years, the club has been eliminated after one game of play. These losses follow two straight runs into the fourth round of Open Cup action, and both of these fourth round defeats came at the hands of MLS teams (Chicago Fire in 2014 and D.C. United in 2015).
Overall, the Hounds have faced an MLS squad five times in Open Cup play. Their only win came against the Colorado Rapids in 2001 – a match in that Alfredo Ulloa and Phil Karn provided the tallies.
How It Could Unfold
If the Hounds advance past Commodores FC this Wednesday, they would then prepare for a third round match on May 23. This game would take place at Highmark Stadium, and Pittsburgh would play the winner of the second round tilt between FC Cincinnati and Detroit City FC.