The Hounds opened the season on Saturday, April 6 in Virginia against the Richmond Kickers, and they played to a 0-0 draw. Midfielder Ryan Kinne came the closest to getting the Riverhounds on the scoreboard, only to see his second-half shot come back off the crossbar.
Then, on Saturday, April 13, it was time to celebrate the opening of Highmark Stadium as the Riverhounds hosted their intrastate rival Harrisburg City Islanders. Forward Jose Angulo, in front of a sellout crowd, scored the first-ever Hounds goal at Highmark in the 68th minute. However, the Islanders’ Sainey Touray and Lucky Mikosana marred the evening with two late goals to take a 2-1 victory back to Harrisburg.
On Saturday, April 20 the Riverhounds traveled to Beavercreek, Ohio, to do battle with the Dayton Dutch Lions in Week 3. The Lions got a stoppage-time goal from Remco Klaasse to claw their way to a 2-1 victory despite having to play down a man for more than an hour. Dayton was reduced to 10 men in the 28th minute as Eli Garner was shown a red card for punching a Riverhounds defender. Pittsburgh midfielder Kevin Kerr scored the Hounds only goal in first-half stoppage time.
The Riverhounds last two games have been close but disappointing, with Pittsburgh giving up game-winning goals in the final minutes of regulation, despite the fact that the Hounds have shown strong possession throughout each contest. In an effort to put emphasis on late-game focus, head coach Justin Evans elevated the competitive structure in practice throughout this week leading up to their back-to-back weekend games on the road.
NEXT UP: On Friday, April 26, the Hounds invade the Queen Sports Complex at Marion Diehl Park in North Carolina to take on the Charlotte Eagles. Game time is set for 7 p.m. Then, on Saturday, April 27, Pittsburgh motors down the road to Blackbaud Stadium in South Carolina for a game with the defending USL PRO champion Charleston Battery. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m. The Riverhounds will be back at Highmark Stadium in Station Square on Thursday, May 9 for a 7 p.m. game with the Phoenix FC Wolves.
RIVERHOUNDS REINFORCEMENTS: After three weeks into the season, forward Jose Angulo and midfielder Kevin Kerr are tied for the team lead in goals with one apiece. Midfielder Matthew Dallman has two assists.
Goalkeeper Richard Hunter Gilstrap has 10 saves to go along with a 1.333 goals-against average.
Defenders Rich Costanzo and Andrew Marshall, along with midfielder Felix Motagalvan, are tied for minutes played with 270 each.
Highmark Stadium has been certified as one of six FIFA 2-Star fields in the United States. It is the highest rating the FIFA Quality Concept Testing program can award.
On Sunday, April 21, the Hounds shared their soccer talents with approximately 100 special needs children as they hosted the Watson Institute’s inaugural Special Kick Clinic at Highmark Stadium in Station Square.
The Riverhounds pro team were joined by members of their Riverhounds Academy youth development program, Central Valley High School’s boys and girls varsity soccer teams, the Carlow University and Point Park University women’s soccer teams along with other volunteers who helped the children participate and enjoy the experience.
The afternoon began with a short exhibition by the Riverhounds, followed by soccer-specific stations led by the Hounds pro team. The drills were carefully adapted to the needs of each child. The Watson Institute and the Pittsburgh Riverhounds have long-term plans to continue the Special Kick Clinic as an annual event.