After 6 games, the Pittsburgh Riverhounds are propping up the USL Pro table and still searching for their first league victory. A big contributing factor to the slow start has been inconsistency. After a strong start in Orlando, the Hounds just haven't been able to put a full 90 minutes together, despite looking like a dominant team at times. This inconsistency certainly isn't going to fix itself as the lineup continues to change each game. I have a feeling its been difficult picking a side when our coaching staff isn't sure which players are going to be available week in and week out. Recently, Jason Johnson, Anthony Arena and Brian Ownby have all bounced between the Hounds and the Dynamo and it certainly hasn't been an ideal situation for either the club or players. Only GK Michael Lisch has been a constant contributor since he's been inserted into the lineup to replace the injured Hunter Gilstrap.
Here are my thoughts on each of the loanees:
JJ has been very average at best. I was excited to see what he could do at the level, but he cannot seem to find his feet. It looks like he is lacking confidence and his movement off the ball hasn't been great. He actually seems to be regressing after each game. Maybe it's confidence, maybe it's attitude, maybe this just isn't an ideal situation for the former generation Adidas forward. Whatever the reason he flat out looks disinterested on the field.
Arena on the other hand has been very good. In fact, his presence has allowed the Hounds to try a 3-5-2 formation. The only problem with Arena is the fact that he has not been available. He hasn't featured in the past few weeks at all.
Ownby is in the same boat. The kid is fantastic on the wing and a real "dynamo" moving forward. When he's in the game he is dangerous and seems to link up seamlessly with LB Danny Earls, the central midfielders and our forwards. The only two issues have been his fitness and his availability. Perhaps all the travel has hindered his endurance.
Lisch is great. He's a long, rangy keeper who's got surprising good distribution. We knew that he was an instinctive shot stopper, but he really does possess a complete game. He controls the box well, he's cool and calm and not afraid to challenge shooters. This kid is an MLS talent and I wouldn't be surprised to see him playing in Houston at some point.
I really cannot say to much about Salazar other than I have heard whispers that he is just not ready to play at this level and that his fitness was poor. Hopefully this kid can find some discipline because I would hate to see him waste his talent.
So in conclusion, although the talent is there for everyone to see, things just haven't really worked out as we had expected. Hopefully once the injury situation improves in Houston these guys will be able to train in Pittsburgh and contribute on a more regular basis.