The Hounds managed to pull off a set of 2-0 victories this weekend against collegiate opponents Duquesne University and Villanova. Although the Hounds are getting positive results so far, there is still much work to be done.
First, the team needs to look to cut down its roster down to 23 players from its current 32 players, consisting currently of 15 rostered players and 17 trialists, by the time the team opens its regular season on March 14 when the team visits Charlotte Independence for the home opener.
Second, the Hounds need to develop a better style of play. According to the coaching staff, the Hounds have a lot to work on. There is still much inconsistency in the team’s movement, which has created a lack of quality chances and also has resulted in many turnovers and loss of possession. There also needs to be improvements made in the defensive positioning of the team.
In the defense of the players, It is hard to get into a rhythm only playing in 45 minutes or less of a game. The Hounds choose to take a strategy of switching the full squad after one half of play, creating a mixture of both rostered players and trialists featured within each half of play, and even some substitutions being made within the halves themselves. This will hopefully allow the coaching staff to improve the group of players as a whole, as well as help evaluate the players to fill the remaining roster spots.
Looking forward to this week, The Riverhounds will be facing Penn State on Saturday, February 15 at 1:00pm. Penn State has a much stronger soccer program than the two colleges the Hounds faced last week. Penn State went 12-4-3 last season, losing in the semi-finals of the Big Ten Tournament and in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. This is a team that graduated 4 seniors this year and has plenty of talent still on the active roster. It will be interesting to see how the Hounds play against a much stronger team.
As a reminder, all preseason games at Highmark Stadium are free to attend! Come cheer on the Hounds at 1PM this Saturday!