USL PRO Game Preview: Riverhounds Host Dutch Lions
The Pittsburgh Riverhounds will be hosting the Dayton Dutch Lions at Highmark Stadium on Saturday at 7:oo PM. This is one of those fortunate circumstances in which Reckless Challenge has staff members that cover both teams. When that happens, we like to provide both perspectives in one post. Josh Brokaw of PROcast, Outsider, and Turnstiles fame has provided the Pittsburgh perspective. Chad Hollingsworth, creator of the Reckless Rankings and sometimes PROlog contributor, has offered the Dutch Lions view.
The Riverhounds have had a rough season so far but things could be turning around for them. Believe it or not Pittsburgh is on a winning streak… well kind of. First they took down Phoenix Wolves FC last week in league play and then they managed to win their first round of US Open Cup play against RWB Adria. Granted, Adria is a National Soccer League team, but hey, I’ll take it.
This is going to be a tough game for the Hounds to win, but it is one they desperately need if they want to turn this season around. They need to keep building on the momentum they’ve built up so far if they want to climb the table. Dayton is a surprisingly good team this year. I fully expect this game to be a very physical one. Especially after how rough the last game was between these two rivals. I expect at least one red card and a couple of yellows Saturday night.
In the end I believe the Riverhounds can win this gamble but I doubt it’s going to be an easy one. They will have to be dominant the whole 90 minutes and they absolutely can not let any late game goals slip by them.
Dutch Lions Look
After being shut out by a combined score of 5-0 against Orlando and Charleston, the Dutch Lions have put together a winning streak similar to the one described above for the Pittsburgh Riverhounds. Dayton held on to beat Phoenix in a high scoring affair in league play last Saturday. Then they dominated the River City Rovers of the USL PDL in the first round of the U.S. Open Cup on Tuesday.
Now the Dutch Lions head to Pittsburgh looking for a season series sweep against the Riverhounds. Dayton opened the season at home against the men from the Steel City with a 2-1 victory. Despite being a man down for most of the match, Dayton seemed to control the action.
With respect to the playoff picture, the losses to the Battery and Orlando City aren’t ideal, but they aren’t devastating because everyone expects those two teams to finish well ahead of the Dutch Lions in the standings. The result in this match against the Riverhounds, though, is important. These two teams could find themselves battling for a playoff position as the season draws close to the end. Currently, Dayton sits two spots and three points ahead of Pittsburgh in the USL PRO table.
So, how will the Dutch Lions attempt to grab three coveted points on the road against their closest USL PRO rival? By playing the same tactics they always implement. Offensively, they’ll look to build from the back with quick passes through the midfield. They’ll try force the Riverhounds into mistakes with high pressure and score with counterattacks.
It will be interesting to see how involved Joel DeLass will be in the attack. Against Phoenix, he felt more comfortable pushing forward with the addition of Shintaro Harada in the midfield. It resulted in two goals for the Dutch Lions’ captain. If it continues, it could also open space for the front line in Dayton’s 4-3-3 formation.
Despite the fact that Pittsburgh is averaging less than a goal per game, the Dayton defense better be ready to play for 90 minutes. Jose Angulo has demonstrated an ability to score, and Jhonny Arteaga could get hot at any moment. The Riverhounds were able to serve several aerial crosses in front of Dayton’s net back in April. The defenders on the far side should expect more of the same.
All that being said, I have every confidence that the Dutch Lions will prevail in their first trip to Highmark. My Reckless Prediction is that the final score will match that of the first meeting: Dayton 2-1 Pittsburgh. I know it’s tough to win on the road, but I’m assuming that the Dutch Lions will be playing with 11 men on the field this time.
As an aside, the Dutch Lions have graciously offered to let me ride along on the team bus to get the full experience of a road trip in USL PRO. I’ll be taking notes, so be on the lookout for an upcoming post on what it’s like to hit the pavement with the Dutch Lions.