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U.S. Open Cup Preview – FC Cincinnati vs. Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC

By Staff, 06/05/23, 5:00PM EDT


Former rivals in the USL Championship square off for the second consecutive Open Cup with Semifinal berth on line

Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC stalwart Kenardo Forbes and his teammates will try to continue the club's run in the 2023 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup when the side visits FC Cincinnati on Tuesday night. | Photo courtesy Mallory Neil / Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC

CINCINNATI – Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC will try to make club history as it visits FC Cincinnati on Tuesday night in the Quarterfinals of the 2023 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup at TQL Stadium with the Hounds seeking a first trip to the Semifinals against their former league rivals, who currently lead the Eastern Conference in Major League Soccer. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET on B/R Football’s YouTube channel.


The Hounds head to Cincinnati having hit a rich vein of form of late, winning their last six games in all competitions. That run includes victories against the New England Revolution (1-0, Round of 32) and Columbus Crew SC (1-0, Round of 16) in the past two rounds of the Open Cup that saw Danny Griffin provide the game-winner against the Revolution and current leading scorer Albert Dikwa – who has 10 goals across all competitions – the winner against the Crew.

The two wins mark the first time Pittsburgh has defeated multiple opponents from Major League Soccer in a single Open Cup, with the club now having matched its deepest run in the historic tournament 22 years ago. The Hounds’ run of form has moved the club up to second place in the Championship’s Eastern Conference, with center back Arturo Ordonez providing the game-winning goal in a second consecutive game this past Saturday in a 1-0 win against Phoenix Rising FC before a sellout crowd at Highmark Stadium.


Cincinnati is on its own run of stellar form with 12 wins and only one loss in its first 16 regular season games this season. FCC’s 39 points are the most by any club in MLS’s history through 16 games in the post-shootout era as it sits eight points clear of its closest rival in the standings – fellow former USL Championship club Nashville SC. Luciano Acosta leads the side with seven goals in the regular season, while Argentine winger Álvaro Barreal has notched four assists in a squad that also includes United States internationals Brandon Vazquez and Matt Miazga.

FCC is looking to reach the Semifinals of the Open Cup for the first time since its memorable run in 2017 while part of the USL Championship, when Djiby Fall finished tied for the tournament lead in goals as the side defeated the Crew and Chicago Fire before falling in extra time to the New York Red Bulls one win away from the Final.


Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC and FC Cincinnati met eight times in the USL Championship previously, including a memorable clash in 2018 that ended in a 2-2 draw at Nippert Stadium. | Photo courtesy Erik Schelkun / FC Cincinnati

Pittsburgh will make another piece of club history if it emerges with victory this time out. The Hounds went without a win in eight meetings (0-4-4) between the sides when they were rivals in the USL Championship between 2016 and 2018, and fell in both encounters (2018, 2022) when the teams met in the Open Cup. Last year, Cincinnati took a 2-0 victory after extra time when the sides met in the Third Round of the Open Cup behind goals from Barreal.


FC Cincinnati – Brandon Vazquez: The United States international came off the bench on Saturday in his side’s win against the Chicago Fire, potentially setting him up for a start in this outing having scored once previously this Open Cup against New York City FC in the Round of 32.

Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC – Danny Griffin: The versatile midfielder has provided energy and quality on the ball since his return to the Hounds last month and will likely need to be disruptive off the ball as well as strong in possession to help the Hounds try to spring an upset.

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