#PGHSoccer Notebook: What Happened to Ft. Pitt Regiment, Hounds PDL Start Season & Moloto Earns Team of Week Honors

It’s been an eventful week here on the Pittsburgh soccer scene to say the least.

The Pittsburgh Riverhounds are in the middle of all of it.

The team netted its first win of the year over Toronto FC II, followed moments later by the sudden announcement that Head Coach Mark Steffens was being relieved of his duties and the subsequent hiring and introduction of a new coach, Dave Brandt from Navy, in the next 24 hours — and then as the Steel City FC ladies kicked off their home schedule — an announcement that former Hound and current DC United midfielder Rob Vincent will be returning for one game loan on June 4, against Charleston at Highmark Stadium (7 pm kickoff).

Some other news may have been pushed to the back burner.

Here are a few other happenings:

CEASE FIRE FOR THE FORT PITT REGIMENT 

imageWhile the Riverhounds have had quite an eventful week, this is the time of the year that some of the other lower division leagues really begin play.

The National Premier Soccer League teams have begun their seasons.  However, one void in the NPSL schedule is that the Fort Pitt Regiment, a semi-pro/amateur team sponsored by PA West Soccer Association, decided not to field a team for the 2016 NPSL season.

The Regiment started off strong in their first season in 2014, earning a spot in the playoffs — and qualified for the 2015 U.S. Open Cup.  They included players that have moved on to other pro teams including Neco Brett (former Robert Morris standout now with Portland Timber) and Brendan Alfery.

In 2015 they made their first appearance in the U.S. Open Cup, losing 1-0 to West Virginia Chaos.  The team struggled through its sophomore season, picking up only two wins in 11 games.

According to While there were rumors that the Regiment had folded, it was announced by the board of directors for PA West Soccer, the organization that owns and runs the Fort Pitt Regiment, sent a letter to NPSL requesting to leave the league — and after much debate among the Board of Directors, PA West decided to exercise the option to leave NPSL for 2016 in February.

All of this does not mean (for now) that the club has folded.

PA West is looking to establish a U-23 division as a portion of their larger adult league, which features over 6,000 participants.  The U-23 league would provide developmental opportunities for soccer players returning to western Pennsylvania in between semesters at college. The Regiment could be a team in that league when it launches.

The organization isn’t opposed to re-entering NPSL in the future.

However, PA West is going to focus on developing the skills and abilities of soccer players in western Pennsylvania through their existing leagues while creating a U-23 league.

With the Fort Pitt Regiment withdrawing from NPSL, Erie Commodores FC are the lone representatives from Western Pennsylvania in the Midwest Region.

Electric City Shock SC (Scranton, PA), Buxmont Torch FC (Perkasie, PA), Junior Lone Star FC (Philadelphia, PA), and Hershey FC (Hershey, PA) will also represent Pennsylvania in the NPSL Northeast Region (Keystone Conference).

RIVERHOUNDS PDL TEAM OPENS SEASON WITH LOSS TO MICHIGAN BUCKS  

Steel City FC weren’t the only team to play on Wednesday — as the Riverhounds U-23 Premier Developmental League (PDL) team began their season at Highmark Stadium — losing 3-0 to the Michigan Bucks.

The Hounds PDL squad, coached by James McCaig, is filled with a number of local college players, along with a few members of the senior roster who have an opportunity to get more playing time.

Click here for a look at the full RIVERHOUNDS U-23 roster. 

The team’s next game will be on Sunday, May 29 at 2 p.m. as they host K-W United.

MOLOTO EARNS USL TEAM OF THE WEEK HONORS 

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Lebo Moloto watches his shot sail past Toronto FC II’s goalkeeper Quillan Roberts (photo Courtesy Pittsburgh Riverhounds)

For the second week in a row, a member of the Riverhounds was named to USL’s Team of the Week.

After a terrific performance in the team’s 2-1 win over Toronto FC II, midfielder Lebo Moloto was named to the team.

A native of Polokwane, South Africa, Moloto celebrated his 26th birthday with a curling shot from the left side of the box that found the back of the net in the 68th minute. His goal would give the Hounds a lead they would not relinquish for the remainder of the night against Toronto.
After he scored the goal — Moloto ran to give his outgoing coach, Steffens, a hug — and the rest of the team joined in.
After the game, Steffens’ had high praise for Moloto.
“That’s a world class goal” said Steffens.
“He’s MLS quality player– no question in my mind.  I’ve had seven or eight players who have gone to MLS and he’s as good as any of them.”

 

 

 

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