Pittsburgh Riverhounds: Breaking Down The Roster Position By Position


With the snow finally gone along the South Side, the Pittsburgh Riverhounds will open the 2015 USL Pro season at home Saturday, March 28 against the Harrisburg City Islanders. The match at Highmark Stadium will get underway at 7 p.m.

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Besides being the season opener, Saturday’s contest is the first of three regular season games comprising the Keystone Derby between the two clubs. Last season, the Hounds went 0-1-2 against the Isles.

Pittsburgh has a new head coach in USL Hall of Famer, Mark Steffens. The team will again play 14 home games and 14 on the road for a total of 28 this season. They finished in 11th place last season with a 9-14-5 record and 32 points.

Steffens will have his work cut out for him as last season the Riverhounds surrendered 49 goals which was the third-most in the league. They gave up four or more goals four times. Any chance of returning to the playoffs begins with reducing those numbers.

The Hounds welcome back Anthony Arena who was the team’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2014. He was on loan from Major League Soccer’s Houston Dynamo last season and he signed on with Pittsburgh during the offseason.

Also back on defense is Sterling Flunder, while there are a pair of former Charlotte Eagles defensemen on the roster in Drew Russell and Fejiro Okiomah. Rounding out the crew on defense is Elmira, Ontario native Tyler Pasher.

The Steel Army will have a new goalkeeper to cheer for this season as former Tampa Bay Rowdie Ryan Thompson takes over between the sticks. The 6-foot-1 Kingston native has also played for the Jamaican National team in international competition. Ryan Hulings and Calle Brown are the back-ups.

Danny Earls, Kevin Kerr, Matt Dallman, Mike Green, Rob Vincent, Anthony Virgara, and Seth C’deBaca are all back as midfielders. Dallman was the team leader in assists with seven and Earls was only one behind with six helpers. Vincent inked a contract extension through the 2016 season with the Hounds.

Stephen Okai comes on board this season as a midfielder from the Orange County Blues while Nick Kolarac played for the Michigan Bucks team that claimed the championship last summer in the USL PDL. South African midfielder Matshidiso Moloto was added at the beginning of March.

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  • Former RMU Colonial Miro Cabrilo is back at forward this season and is joined by newcomers Kene Eze Max Touloute, and Vini Dantas. Cabrilo had two goals in 15 appearances. After being taken in the fourth round of last year’s MLS SuperDraft, Eze spent last summer with the USL PDL’s Jersey Express. He played his college soccer at Rutgers University.

    Dantas had 26 appearances in the North American Soccer League last year with the Ottawa Fury. Toulette was with Reading United of the PDL last summer and recently spent time with the Missouri Comets indoor soccer team.

    It will be interesting to see how much offense this group will generate this season. The returning players accounted for just 14 of the 35 goals scored last season. Perhaps the 4-0 preseason shutout of the Duquesne Dukes on Friday, March 13 and the 5-1 preseason victory Saturday, March 21 over the University of Charleston (WV) Golden Eagles.could be signs of scoring to come.

    The beautiful game is ready to return to the pitch along the banks of the Monongahela River in downtown Pittsburgh.

    Up Next: The Hounds welcome the Rochester Rhinos Saturday, April 4 at 7 p.m. to Highmark Stadium. Pittsburgh took the three-game regular season series last year 2-1.

    From The Clipboard: City of Champions Sports co-editor Matt Gajtka will be handling the play-by-play broadcasting chores for all Riverhounds homes games this season.

    A pair of Hounds have answered the call to play for their countries. Thompson is going to play in Jamaica’s match against Cuba Monday, March 30. Pasher has joined the Canadian team for its upcoming contests with Guatemala and Puerto Rico.

    Thompson will be available to play in the opener against Harrisburg on Saturday. Both players will be available for the Riverhounds next match against the Rhinos.

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