Preview: Real Maryland v. Pittsburgh Riverhounds
Real Maryland looks to turn its fortunes around when it faces the Pittsburgh Riverhounds Saturday night at 7:30 at the Maryland SoccerPlex.
Following a tough 1-0 loss in monsoon like conditions to Western Massachusetts in their inaugural USL-2 match last Sunday, the Monarchs have gone back to the drawing board at training this week.
“Our goal is to forget about whatever happened on Sunday and focus on Pittsburgh,” said Monarch’s head coach Silvino Gonzalo. “With that said, however, we are working on changing a few things so we don’t make the same mistakes.”
Gonzalo describes Saturday’s match-up as a “must win game.”
Early season victories are not only important for USL-2 teams jockeying for pole position in the table, but they are also vital for qualification to the Lamar Hunt US-Open Cup. A tournament which offers teams like Real Maryland the chance to test its metal against USL-1 and MLS squads in the battle for the Dewar Cup.
A lot can be said about the weather effecting last weeks game, but Real Maryland may just have to learn to deal with it. The forecast is calling for rain again this Saturday.
Two Real Maryland Players to Watch:
Forward Victor Ramirez came into the match against Western Mass as a 49th minute sub and almost made an immediate impression. His constant movement coupled with his desire to run at defenders changed the complexion of the game as Real Maryland finally began to look dangerous on the attack. Ramirez almost re-wrote the match script in the 56th minute. His ferocious drive slammed off the crossbar and skimmed along the goal-line before being cleared to safety. A good week of training and Ramirez is certain to figure against the Hounds either as a sub or as a member of the Monarchs’ starting XI.
Defender Matthew Eby is extraordinary not only because he is one of the few known deaf professional soccer players in the world, but because he is a solid defender. Eby has good positional sense, gets stuck in hard, and always plays simple meaning he barley ever squanders possession. Real Maryland has an established back four, but should Gonzalo decide to change things up a bit, Eby will be the first defender off the Real Maryland bench.
About the Pittsburgh Riverhounds
The Riverhounds come into Maryland facing a similar situation to that of the Monarchs. Pittsburgh lost its opening game against the Cleveland City Stars 2-1, conceding the game winning goal in stoppage time.
Established in 1999, Pittsburgh played its first five years in the now defunct A-League before moving to the USL. The Riverhounds sat out the 2007 season but return this year under new ownership with a team comprised of players mainly from the Atlantic region, including five former Duquesne University standouts.
Before heading to Maryland, the Riverhounds will stop off at UMBC for a Friday night match-up with Crystal Palace Baltimore.
Two Pittsburgh Riverhounds Players to Watch
Riverhound’s defender Nathan Salsi was named to the USL-2 Team of the Week. Despite going down to 10- men in the 54th minute against Cleveland, Salsi continued to attack from the back and was rewarded with a header in the 67th minute. Salsi is the anchor of a well organized defense that was unlucky to concede two contentious goals in which they felt the Riverhound’s keeper was fouled on both occasions.
Saturday will be a homecoming for Riverhounds goalkeeper Andrew Keszler. The former Walt Whitman and Georgetown University standout is no stranger to the Maryland Soccerplex stadium field having played many crucial games there including a triumphant State Cup Final with the Baltimore Bays. At 6’3’’, 215 lbs, Keszler is a commanding presence in the box. Real Maryland will need to bring its best pair of shooting boots if it wants to claim all three points in this one.
Check realmaryland.us on Monday morning for a full match report!
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