Reason for success? All about defense.

Reason for success? All about defense.

May 16, 2017 | By Rachael McKriger

The Pittsburgh Riverhounds currently sit in the third overall slot in the Eastern Conference. That’s a major difference than last season, known to Riverhounds fans as the season that shouldn’t be named.

A lot has contributed to the success of the Riverhounds, which has resulted in a 4-2-3 record. However, while most people tend to only look at the goals being scored – and who is scoring them – the Riverhounds have to give credit to the people stopping goals as well.

The defense is playing consistently this year, which is something that never quite happened last year.

Taylor Washington, Jamal Jack, Joe Greenspan and Rich Balchan have held down the backline for the majority of the season. Now with Balchan injured and out for the year, Ritchie Duffie has taken his slot in the back.

Despite being a rookie and learning his role in the starting XI, Duffie has surprised many. Duffie even had his first assist of the regular season on Corey Hertzog’s goal in the Hounds 1-0 victory over the Ottawa Fury on Saturday.

The only question mark the defense has is the future of Greenspan. Greenspan is on loan from Minnesota United FC. His loan was only supposed to be for one month, but has extended for two months.

Greenspan is a tall force on defense, with a strong build that halts opposing forwards. He and Jack have been the two centerbacks in front of goalkeepers Trey Mitchell and Keasel Broome. For his efforts against the Fury, Greenspan was even named to the USL’s Team of the Week.

While the defenders aren’t leading on the scoresheets, the defenders are helping out their goalkeepers. In the last there matches, the Riverhounds have had clean sheets and wins. With the way the Riverhounds are playing, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup comes at a perfect time for the Hounds to showcase their turn-around season.

The Riverhounds will face Chicago United FC on Wednesday in Chicago. The Riverhounds and Chicago will kick off the match at 8 p.m. ET.

Mike Sparks

In addition to watching, coaching, and occasionally playing soccer, Mike also enjoys talking all things soccer over at the Mon Goals podcast. Go give the show a listen and let him know what you think