Riverhounds vs. Columbus Crew
Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Round of 16
Date: Wednesday, May 24
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Highmark Stadium
Odds: Hounds +220 / Draw +250 / Columbus +105 (FanDuel)
TV: Pittsburgh’s CW
Streaming: CBS Sports Golazo (national), Pittsburgh’s CW (local)
Live statistics: USL Championship Match Center
Live updates: @RiverhoundsSC on Twitter
Match hashtags: #PITvCLB, #HOUNDTAHN and #USOC2023
PITTSBURGH (May 23, 2023) — One of the biggest crowds in Highmark Stadium history is expected Wednesday night, when the Hounds play deeper into the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup than they have in 22 years with a Round of 16 match at home against the Columbus Crew of MLS.
It will be just the second time the South Side venue has hosted MLS opposition — the first being a 3-1 extra time loss to D.C. United in 2015 — and the first since Highmark’s 2018 supporters’ section expansion. With those factors and a forecast of warm, dry weather, a crowd pushing toward the stadium’s 6,073 record is expected for what will be a stiff test for the Hounds.
The winner of Wednesday’s game will advance to the Quarterfinals, where they will go on the road to face FC Cincinnati on June 6 or June 7. Cincinnati moved on Tuesday night by eliminating the New York Red Bulls on penalties, 5-3, after playing to a 1-1 draw.
As one of two USL Championship teams remaining in the hunt for the championship of U.S. Soccer, the Hounds still have “underdog” status in title. But after dictating play for stretches in the 1-0 road win last round over the New England Revolution, the Hounds are no longer catching anyone off guard, as evidenced by the betting odds of only +220 — a steep decline from the +550 price against the Revolution.
The last time the Hounds and Crew met in a competitive match, the Crew took a 1-0 win to eliminate the Hounds from the 2019 Open Cup at Mapfre Stadium in the Ohioan capital. The teams have also met frequently in the preseason, including this year, when the Crew hosted a closed-door scrimmage at their training facility. But that match, which featured a heavy dose of trialists and reserve players getting the majority of minutes, will have virtually no bearing on Wednesday night’s highly anticipated tilt.
The Crew come into the match off a tough 3-2 loss Saturday to their rivals, FC Cincinnati, but Columbus showed how lethal it can be in its previous match in the Open Cup, a 5-1 demolition at Loudoun United FC. If anything is working against the Crew, it is the fact this is the team’s fifth match in 14 days (as opposed to the fourth in 15 for the Hounds), so it will be seen at game time whether coach Wilfried Nancy will deploy attacking stars Lucas Zelarayán and Cucho Hernandez from the outset or hold them back as options off the bench.
The Hounds, meanwhile, were able to cut short the nights of influential players such as Albert Dikwa, Danny Griffin, Kenardo Forbes and Arturo Ordóñez on Saturday, as the team cruised to the finish line of a 4-1 win over the Las Vegas Lights. That leaves Bob Lilley the option of a full-strength lineup Wednesday, rather than needing to rest players as he did bringing on Dikwa and Forbes in the final half-hour of the win over New England.
Fans attending the game should be aware of a number of changes as a result of the sellout crowd expected.
Gates for the match will open an hour earlier at 5 p.m., and the Tailgate Zone entertainment — live music, beer specials and more — will only be accessible inside the ticketed area of the stadium. Hounds local television partner KDKA will be broadcasting live from the field pre-match, and the Hounds will debut their new “Summer Gold” alternate kits when they take the field at game time.
Parking in the West Lot is sold out, and only fans and VIPs with digital parking passes will be admitted. Fans who did not purchase parking in advance are advised to enter on the opposite end of Station Square and utilize the main parking deck or one of the lots on the East end of the stadium.
As of Tuesday night, very few seats remain, in addition to limited suites and standing-room only tickets, all of which can be purchased through Ticketmaster or at the Highmark Stadium Box Office. The game will be shown locally on Pittsburgh’s CW, and the national stream will be free to watch through CBS Sports Golazo, which is accessible through the CBS Sports website and mobile app.
COURTESY PITTSBURGH RIVERHOUNDS SC COMMUNICATIONS