The Hounds only have to wait 11 more days to defend their Eastern Conference regular season Championship.
It all starts on July 12, when the Hounds face Louisville City FC on ESPN2. The remaining 15 games will be a mix; 12 games will be against Group F opponents (three games against each team) and 3 more non-divisional games.
Group F features a little bit of everything for the Hounds: old foes, past champions and new teams looking to make their mark in the league.
Loudoun United FC
New to the USL Championship in 2019, Loudoun United FC is looking to build on a solid first season, which saw them finish 12th in the Eastern Conference.
However, the Hounds got the better of them in their two matchups last year. Their first matchup started a unique streak for the Hounds--for seven straight games (August 23rd to September 28th) Pittsburgh held their opponents scoreless. This streak started with and was ended by the same team: Loudoun United FC.
As both teams are in Group F, the Hounds will see Loudoun three times this season.
Also new to the USL Championship in 2019, Hartford Athletic was 14 points out of the last playoff spot, in a season that saw them finish 17th in the conference.
The Hounds got the better of Hartford in both of their matchups, including Pittsburgh’s home opener in 2019.
The Hounds will also face Hartford three times this season.
New York Red Bulls II
The 2019 season was a successful one for New York, as they finished 6th in the Eastern Conference (17-6-11).
Unlike the previous teams, the Hounds have a long history with New York. Many may remember the 2015 playoffs, where New York got the better of the Hounds in an overtime loss.
However, Pittsburgh has dominated the matchup in recent years. The Hounds defeated New York twice in 2019, and once in 2018.
Since its USL Championship debut in 2015, New York has never missed the playoffs. This year, the Hounds have an opportunity to bar a consistent team from the postseason.
Philadelphia Union II
Philadelphia Union II, better known as Bethlehem Steel FC before this year, is coming off a year that saw them finish 16th in the Eastern Conference.
No matter the location, the Hounds have the advantage against Philadelphia, and boast a 9-6-5 all-time record against the club.
Philadelphia last made the playoffs in 2018, and aim to be a tough opponent for the Hounds to overcome.