Fresh off a two-week hiatus, Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC (5-1-6) returns to action to battle New York Red Bulls II (5-3-5) at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Highmark Stadium. This will be their first meeting this season, although Red Bulls II held the advantage in 2017 with a 1-0-1 record against the Hounds. This upcoming match will be televised on Pittsburgh’s CW.
Unstoppable Force, Immovable Object
The Hounds have had one of the best defenses in the Eastern Conference to date and are tied with Louisville City FC for the least goals allowed (seven) after Week 13 action. The backline will have perhaps its toughest matchup of the year on Saturday, as the New York attack has been just as imposing. Red Bulls II ranks first in the Eastern Conference in goals forwarded (25) and leads the entire USL in total shots (224).
Thinking Inside the Box
Last time out against the Richmond Kickers, the Hounds posted a season-high 14 shots from inside the box. If Pittsburgh continues this offensive pressure on Saturday, it could pay dividends against Red Bulls II. This season, New York has conceded three penalties. Pittsburgh, which is still in search of its first penalty kick goal this season, could find itself at the penalty spot this weekend.
Over the course of their past three matches, the Hounds have owned the bulk of the possession share. Averaging 55.23 percent possession during this stretch, Pittsburgh will be challenged to keep this streak going this Saturday, as New York has posted an average of 55 percent possession on the season.
Despite holding a 5-3-5 overall record, New York has zero wins on the road in 2018. The squad also has scored zero goals in its last three road games.
As New York leads the USL with 224 total shots after Week 13 of play, the Hounds will need to find a way to slow down one of the most explosive attacks in the league. Red Bulls II averages 17.23 shots per match this year, but Pittsburgh has allowed just 7.67 shots per game in 2018. The Black and Gold will need to continue to find ways to keep shots off of frame this Saturday.