Fireside Chat, Open Cup Edition: FIRE v. Pittsburgh, 7:30 p.m.

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle McHenry of the Steel Army, the Riverhounds' supporters group, answers our questions in advance of tonight's US Open Cup fourth-round matchup

Special kudos to friend-of-the-site (and Section 8 stalwart) Brian Cost for arranging this question exchange. Brian, you are The Man.

Hot Time in the Old Town: Most of the Fire fan base are not familiar with Pittsburgh and the USL-Pro teams.  How has your season been so far and how have things been shaping up as far as the Open Cup run?

Kyle McHenry: It's been a rough season for the Hounds. So far they've gone 1-7-5 in league play, sacked the head coach, and are propping up the rest of the league. They had a rough early schedule playing some of the best teams in the league multiple times, but even now that they're playing the middle of the pack the Hounds are still struggling. It's especially frustrating for us supporters. There was a lot of hype going into this season with some of the signings in the off season. We were supposed to have one of the best offenses in the league. For whatever reason it's just not panning out.

The Open Cup has been the small bright spot to this year. The team hasn't won pretty but wins are wins. This is the deepest run they've made in a while.

HT: Who are some of the players that we should keep an eye on for Wednesday's game?

KM: Danny Earls has been one of our most consistently solid players this year. He makes beautiful crosses while busting his ass all 90 minutes.

Jose Angulo was the league's MVP and Golden Boot winner last season. He hasn't quite found his groove this year, but he's always a threat in the box.

Michael Lisch is the only loan from the Houston Dynamo to see consistent play time with the Hounds and not get called back. He's been a solid keeper for us this season. He was only drafted by the Dynamo in 2014, but from what we've seen it won't be long until he's a regular in net in MLS.

HT: Pittsburgh currently has an affiliation with the MLS side Houston Dynamo, who have four players on loan.  How has that been working out?

KM: The affiliation with the Dynamo hasn't been too great. Houston has been decimated by injuries this season and called back the loans multiple times. Its been a few weeks now since any of them have been here save Lisch. Lisch has been the only one consistently with the Hounds. None of the other loans have played more than 5 games with the team this season (we're 13 games in at this point). We appreciate the talent of the others when they're here, but the constant back and forth makes building any chemistry or planning tactics nearly impossible. We were generally excited for the affiliation when the season started, but it's left a sour taste in our mouths. 

HT: Former Fire player Collins John is going to be playing his old team. Has he made any comments in that regard?

KM: I haven't heard anything. The team doesn't put out a ton of info during the week.

Thanks again to Kyle McHenry for answering our questions!

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