Saturday evening is Bark at the Park, an annual promotion in which fans may bring their dogs into Sahlen's Stadium during the Rhinos game. Saturday is also a chance for Bob Lilley to showcase his ambition for this Rochester team. Lilley is a man known for defensive organization and his team has only scored more than one goal in a single game this season. A showdown at home against the worst team in the league is a prime opportunity to kick-start Rochester's finishing before a road trip out west.
Ben Cole is a contributor for Reckless Challenge and is still an avid fan of the Pittsburgh Riverhounds despite the troubles that team is facing in 2014. You should follow Ben on twitter @_bencole for updates about the Riverhounds and some commentary on USL Pro or soccer in general.
Pittsburgh renewed the contracts of Matthew Dallman and Jose Angulo, 2013's Golden Boot Winner who had drawn interest from MLS. The Riverhounds also added Ghanaian midfield Anthony Obodai, who played with the Phoenix FC tire-fire last year, and Joseph Ngwenya, the former MLS-er who had most recently played with the 2013 regular season winning Richmond Kickers.
Rhinos' fans will probably recognize Danny Earls on the Riverhounds. The former Rochester left back was called into training camp with Sporting Kansas City of MLS this past preseason and by the time he left Kansas, the Rhinos had already signed a couple of left backs.
To get some valuable information about Rochester's next opponent, I asked Ben Cole to answer three questions about his beloved Riverhounds.
What type of form is Pittsburgh carrying into Saturday night's game?:
To start, the Riverhounds have yet to win a game. They gave Justin Evans his walking papers on May 19 and moved defender Niko Katic into an interim manager role. Since that time, Pittsburgh has lost two games and drawn one in USL PRO play, with an overall record of zero wins, six losses and four draws and holding the last position in the table. One bright spot is that the Riverhounds moved to the fourth round of the US Open Cup after an extra -time thriller against RWB Adria.
Despite a disappointing campaign so far, who are players to watch from the 'Hounds?:
While Hunter Gilstrap was the #1 goalkeeper coming into the season, he hasn't been able to consistently hold onto that role. He has been out after colliding with another player during the first game of the season against Orlando. Backup Greg Blum and Houston Dynamo loaned Michael Lisch have carried the load, with Lisch garnering more starts. Gilstrap, a former USL goalkeeper of the year, is healthy and ready to go, so Katic has a very good problem to have when picking who will be between the pipes.
What do the team and fans expect from the rest of the 2014 season?:
Postseason play is still a possibility for Pittsburgh, but the overall goal right now should be getting that first win. The Jose Angulo-Matthew Dallman tandem has to find its footing, while new players Danny Earls and Anthony Obodai are creating a midfield that can sometimes be as tough to navigate through as Route 28 can be in and out of Pittsburgh.
Ben even gave me a bold prediction for this weekend's match-up: "Look for the Riverhounds to finally get three points from their steady rival; 2-1 to Pittsburgh."
I want to thank Ben for providing some insight into the Riverhounds even though I think his prediction is awful. While Pittsburgh has some dangerous weapons (noted above) I think veteran coach Lilley can outmaneuver the Riverhounds' interim coach Katic.
Kickoff is at 7:05PM but plan on getting to the stadium early. If you're not a fan of our canine friends, I hear that someone is planning a big tailgate for any traveling members of Pittsburgh's Steel Army and for Rochester's Oak Street Brigade and for anyone else (and their dogs).