More than 18,000 fans packed into Nissan Stadium, and former Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC midfielder Lebo Moloto did his best to provide Nashville SC with its first-ever home victory.
Posting six shots and two takes on target, Moloto ultimately could not break the Pittsburgh defense, and the two clubs tied their first all-time meeting, 0-0.
As the USL now enters Week 12 of action, Moloto, as well as defender Taylor Washington, will each return to Pittsburgh to face their old team for the first time since leaving, as Riverhounds SC (4-0-6) readies for a showdown with Nashville SC (3-2-4) at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at Highmark Stadium. The Hounds will look to get back in the win column, coming off a short week after tying rival Penn FC this past Saturday, 0-0.
“We know next game on Wednesday we are coming with the same mentality and trying to get more and more goals,” defender Hugh Roberts said after the Penn FC match. “At the end of the day, we might of have not scored today, but we know we are going to score at some point. We need to keep our heads up and keep fighting.”
While Riverhounds SC looks to notch more tallies, it will need to simultaneously prevent a former goalscorer from finding the back of the net.
Moloto played for the Hounds during the 2015 and 2016 campaigns, starting 45 of his 51 career games played with the club. The Polokwane, South Africa native racked up 22 points in his Hounds career, which ranks No. 16 in team history.
Meanwhile, Washington will make his first Highmark Stadium appearance since leaving Pittsburgh this offseason. He logged the third most games played (29) for the Hounds and led the squad in interceptions (96) last year.
After helping prevent goals for the Hounds in 2017, Washington will now be a backline foe Pittsburgh looks to exploit on Wednesday.
“The main focus this week is to get in behind,” midfielder Kenardo Forbes said, “create more chances, more open chances, so we can convert easily.”
As Moloto and Washington ready for their return to Highmark Stadium, here is how a few other notable Hounds fared in their respective homecomings.
Brian Ownby: May 16, 2015
Brian Ownby made his Hounds debut in 2014 as a loanee from Houston Dynamo of MLS and scored one goal in his five career appearances with Pittsburgh. In 2015, the striker suited up for the Richmond Kickers and made his Highmark Stadium return on May 16. In the 24th minute, Ownby scored a goal that provided the Kickers with a 1-0 lead. The Hounds later notched an equalizer, which led to the 1-1 final result.
Andrew Ribeiro: Aug. 15, 2015
Playing for the Hounds during the 2014 campaign, Andrew Ribeiro left the club and joined the Charlotte Independence in 2015. When he made his Highmark Stadium homecoming, the defender started and played all 90 minutes, as Charlotte and Pittsburgh battled to a 1-1 draw.
José Angulo: April 12, 2017
Receiving the starting nod for Saint Louis FC, it did not take long for José Angulo to make his impact felt. In the 30th minute, the striker, who is tied for No. 5 all-time in club history with 23 goals, scored an equalizer against his old team. He later was subbed off in the 82nd minute of play. Saint Louis FC won the match, 2-1.