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The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

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Opinion | Stop canceling flawed characters
Opinion | Stop canceling flawed characters
By Delaney Rauscher Adams, Staff Columnist • 12:09 am
Column | Blake Hinson has pro potential
By Aidan Kasner, Staff Writer • February 29, 2024
Women’s History Month event roundup
By Ryleigh Lord, News Editor • February 29, 2024

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Opinion | Stop canceling flawed characters
Opinion | Stop canceling flawed characters
By Delaney Rauscher Adams, Staff Columnist • 12:09 am
Column | Blake Hinson has pro potential
By Aidan Kasner, Staff Writer • February 29, 2024
Women’s History Month event roundup
By Ryleigh Lord, News Editor • February 29, 2024

Column | Respect the Riverhounds

Pittsburgh+Riverhounds+Jesse+Williams+and+Miami+FCs+Joaquin+Rivas+%2817%29+go+after+the+ball+during+a+USL+soccer+match+Saturday%2C+July+9%2C+2022%2C+in+Pittsburgh.+
Emily Matthews/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP
Pittsburgh Riverhounds’ Jesse Williams and Miami FC’s Joaquin Rivas (17) go after the ball during a USL soccer match Saturday, July 9, 2022, in Pittsburgh.

Students at the University of Pittsburgh as well as the citizens of the city itself have plenty of ways to spend their time. With four professional sports teams and three Division I collegiate programs in the area, Pittsburgh locals must often split their time wisely. Additionally, the city offers tons of cultural opportunities between museums, parks and festivals. There is one sports team in the area that is widely overlooked, and that is the Pittsburgh Riverhounds. 

Founded in 1999, the Riverhounds have occupied Highmark Stadium next to Station Square since 2013. They play in the USL Championship, the second tier of soccer in the United States. The Riverhounds have created a culture of success, finishing, at worst, fifth in the league in their past 5 seasons. 

Here are some reasons why Pitt students should become Riverhounds fans.

Pitt alumni on the roster

The Riverhounds roster is full of players with pedigrees from across collegiate soccer. The lineup features players such as defensive player Luke Biasi, who played at Syracuse, as well as former Michigan forward Marc Ybarra. However, a large part of their successful play this regular season has come from Pitt alumni. Nine of the Riverhounds’ 50 total goals on the season came from the combined efforts of defender Arturo Ordoñez and forward Edward Kizza, both alumni of the Pitt men’s soccer program coached by Jay Vidovich. 

Ordoñez played his last season with the Panthers in the fall of 2021 and finished his collegiate career having earned both ACC second and third team honors as a starting defender.

Kizza played his last season with the Panthers in the fall of 2019, where he appeared and started in every game as a junior forward. His collegiate accolades include a 2017 ACC all-freshman team appearance as well and 2018 and 2019 ACC first team selections. Kizza went on to be drafted by the New England Revolution, where he appeared in 11 games over 2 years. He was then loaned to Pittsburgh in 2022, where he signed a permanent contract for the 2023 season.

Ordoñez and Kizza are not the first players to sport both a Panthers and Riverhounds jersey, as four other players have done so since the beginning of the Riverhounds franchise in 1999. 

Success

The Riverhounds just finished the most successful regular season in the history of their franchise, as they concluded their season with a 19-5-10 record. They finished with the best record in the eastern conference for the second time in franchise history, with the last occurring in 2019. This record also stood as the best across the USL Championship, granting them the Player’s Shield for the first time in franchise history. The Player’s Shield is awarded to the USL team with the best regular record, similar to its MLS equivalent Supporter’s Shield. 

The Shield, however, was not the only trophy the Riverhounds took home this season. 

Forward Albert Dikwa took home the Golden Boot for the 2023 regular season, for leading the league in goals scored. Dikwa was able to score 20 goals this campaign, accounting for 40% of the Riverhounds total goals scored.

On the opposite side of the field, the Riverhounds led the league in clean sheets, logging the most shutout games of any team across the USL Championship. 

The Riverhounds clinched home field advantage in the playoffs with one game still left on the schedule, besting the second place Tampa Bay Rowdies on the standings by four total points. 

This allows the Riverhounds to start the 2023 playoffs at home against Detroit City FC, the worst seeded team in the playoffs. They will play on Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. at Highmark Stadium. 

While Pittsburgh sports fanatics have many choices of where to show their fandom, they have an ample opportunity to support a great team that has roots with the University. 

About the Contributor
Ari Meyer, Staff Writer