UPDATE: Due to inclement weather, Saturday's game has been postponed until July 17.
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - The Pittsburgh Riverhounds and their cross state rival Harrisburg City Islanders will both be under some pressure when they meet this weekend.
Both will be looking for their first win of the season at Highmark Stadium Saturday night.
The Riverhounds (0-1) dropped their home opener 1-0 to Rochester on a cold and rainy night last week. Meanwhile, Harrisburg (0-2) suffered back-to-back losses on the road to Charlotte and Richmond, respectively.
A loss to Harrisburg and a 0-2 start for the Hounds would not be disastrous, as there is so much soccer yet to be played this season. But, it will not help fans forget slow starts of previous years.
The home opener did not go anything to plan for Pittsburgh, while it was the kind of the win for which Rochester have become famous. The Rhinos are defending USL Champions for a reason and that is mostly due to a strong, organized defense and a counter-punching offense.
Rochester got the opening goal they desperately wanted seven minutes in from Christian Volesky, looping the ball over goalkeeper Hunter Gilstrap. The Rhinos went on to absorb long spells of pressure by the Hounds throughout the rest of the game. But, they never conceded and won 1-0.
"We made one bad mistake in the first half and it cost us a goal. That cost us the game." Coach Mark Steffens said afterward.
Midfielder Kevin Kerr knew it was going to be an uphill climb after going down early.
"They work hard. They win their tackles and they win a lot of second balls. To get a good result against Rochester, you have to get the first goal. That's a team that can defend," he said.
Looking ahead to Harrisburg and the opening game of the 2016 Keystone Cup, most Hounds fans would love a repeat of last year. The two teams played four games last year and combined for 28 goals. Better yet, the Hounds won three of those four contests.
Included in those games was an 11-goal thriller at Highmark Stadium that saw the Hounds score three times in the dying minutes to snatch a 6-5 victory. They followed that up with a 2-1 victory in Harrisburg on the final day of the season, which secured the inaugural Keystone Cup. That win also punched their ticket to the playoffs.
The Hounds appear to be in better shape than their in-state rivals going into the contest. Should the Hounds lose on Saturday, it will be the third time in four seasons they will have gone winless in their first two games.
The Riverhounds travel to Toronto for their first road game on April 17.
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