For the first time in its history, league-leading Republic FC heads to the Steel City for a matchup with Eastern Conference co-leader Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC. It’s set to be a well-played contest, with the two clubs each among the best in the league at the season’s halfway mark. Sacramento currently sits at the top of the table with 33 points, and Pittsburgh is currently tied for the top spot in the East.
At a Glance: #SACvPIT
- 4:00 p.m. PT kickoff
- Highmark Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- Watch: FOX40, Antenna TV 40.2, FOX40.com and the FOX40 News Mobile App, ESPN+
Republic FC – The Latest
Republic FC claimed a second straight unbeaten result Saturday against Rio Grande Valley FC. A positive performance with a limited squad due to injury ended with a 1-1 draw after a goal from the visitors late in stoppage time. The club showed its depth with several contributors out. Young academy forward Zeke Padilla made his first team debut, providing a late jolt. Panzani Sousa, Johnny Fenwick, and others put in stellar shifts to help their club secure a point.
Know Your Opponent
Riverhounds SC enters Saturday’s contest unbeaten at home this season, and unbeaten in its last ten matches – tied for the longest active streak league wide. The club’s defensive unit has stepped up in a big way in recent weeks, conceding just a single goal since May 28. The only non-winning results in that timeframe have been scoreless draws, one against a stingy Oakland Roots team on June 17, and another last week on a rainy night against Louisville City FC.
Pittsburgh has been without its top offensive weapon for a few weeks. Forward Albert Dikwa suffered an injury in the U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinals in May and has yet to return to action. In addition, goalkeeper Jamali Waite remains away from the club while representing Jamacia at the Concacaf Gold Cup.
Players to Watch
This week marks three Republic FC players’ first trip back to the Steel City since featuring for Pittsburgh. In 2021, Danny Vitiello, Shane Wiedt, and Russell Cicerone were all key contributors for the Hounds; Cicerone and Wiedt also featured for the club last season. Each return to their past home in good form – Cicerone remains among the league leaders in scoring with nine goals, while Vitiello leads the Golden Glove race so far this season with 0.60 goals against average.
Pittsburgh’s backline has been in good form of late with Arturo Ordonez, who normally lines up in the middle of Bob Lilley’s defensive formation, leading the way. Ordonez will play a key role for the hosts in what’s likely to be a tight, defensive battle of a game. His matchups with Republic FC’s front line could decide the match.
Head to Head
All time, Republic FC has recorded a win and draw apiece against the Pennsylvania club. Last season, the two sides played to a 1-1 draw at Heart Health Park on October 9. Rodrigo Lopez converted from the spot for the hosts, before Pittsburgh leveled a few minutes later. The prior matchup came in Sacramento’s inaugural 2014 season – a 5-0 win that saw Rodrigo Lopez and Thomas Stewart each net braces.
The two sides have each been among the league leaders statistically this season. Pittsburgh has conceded the second-fewest goals league wide to Sacramento, letting in only one more than the Quails.