Riverhounds release 2016 USL schedule, will play Penn State in preseason
January 27, 2016 5:41 PM
Allison Farrand / Post-Gazette
Riverhounds midfielder Mike Green charges towards the goal during a game against Louisville City F.C. at Highmark Stadium. The Riverhounds have released their schedule for the upcoming season.
By Megan Ryan / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The Riverhounds will kick off their newly expanded 2016 United Soccer League season at 7 p.m. April 2 at Highmark Stadium against the defending Eastern Conference and regular-season champion Rochester Rhinos.
With new teams Orlando City B, Bethlehem Steel FC and FC Cincinnati joining the conference, the Riverhounds will play two more games than 2015, but the season will remain roughly the same length, with the final regular-season game at 7 p.m. Sept. 24 at home against Cincinnati.
The Riverhounds will play May 14 at Cincinnati (time TBA) and again at 7 p.m. Sept. 14 at home. They also will face new in-state rival Bethlehem three times, away July 10 (time TBA), home Aug. 13 (7 p.m.) and away Sept. 18 (TBA). The Riverhounds will play Orlando at home April 23 (7 p.m.) and away Sept. 3 (7:30 p.m.).
There will still be a three-game series with the rival Harrisburg City Islanders for the Keystone Derby Cup, which the Riverhounds won the first installment of in 2015. The Riverhounds play host to Harrisburg at 7 p.m. April 9 and at 7 p.m. July 4 before visiting Aug. 27 (TBA).
The Rhinos are the other team the Riverhounds face three times, playing them away June 25 and Aug. 20 (TBA for bothe) after the season and home opener. The Riverhounds face all other conference opponents twice, home and away.
In 2015, the Riverhounds finished fifth in the Eastern Conference at 11-9-8 and eventually lost in the first round of playoffs to the New York Red Bulls II. This season, the top eight teams, two more than 2015, in the Eastern and Western conferences will advance to the playoffs.
The Riverhounds will begin their preseason Feb. 15 and will play four collegiate teams, including Penn State.
New signing Corey Hertzog, a forward, will return to his alma mater Feb. 28 for the Riverhounds' first preseason game at Penn State. He led NCAA Division I in goals his junior year with the Nittany Lions.
The Riverhounds will open Highmark Stadium to Ohio State and Michigan State on March 6 and March 13, respectively, before playing Akron on March 18 at a site to be determined. The Highmark Stadium games will be free and open to the public. The team is also looking to add one more game to the slate, per a release.
Megan Ryan: email@example.com and Twitter @theothermegryan.
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