They were one of the first teams to start training in January.
Now they’ll be one of the first teams to get their preseason friendly schedule started.
The Pittsburgh Riverhounds will travel to North Carolina this weekend, taking on the newly rebranded North Carolina FC (formerly the Carolina Railhawks) of NASL in Raleigh on Saturday at 1 p.m. then will turn around and take on Duke University at 11 a.m. on Sunday.
When I asked Head Coach Dave Brandt early in February about the preseason schedule, he couldn’t wait to see how his team would stack up against other teams.
“Playing a mix (of college and pro teams) is fine. As early as we started preseason, nobody’s playing at that time, college or pro, it’s going to be five weeks of preseason before we play,”said Brandt.
“It wasn’t possible to get anyone before Feb. 18 when we play vs North Carolina FC. I was able to contact and use some of my college relationships to try to schedule games.”
Don’t expect any in-depth coverage of the scrimmages here on PSR, but you can follow the Riverhounds various social media accounts to see reports from the team.
The Hounds return to Pittsburgh for the second week of the preseason. The first of back-to-back game days occurs on Feb. 25 at Highmark Stadium, as the Hounds battle the University of Akron. This is the third-straight year Akron is on the preseason schedule.
In the second game, the Black and Gold face off against Duquesne University on Feb. 26 at the Allegheny Health Network Sports Complex in Bethel Park. In their last preseason meeting, the Hounds defeated the Dukes, 4-0. Midfielder Kevin Kerr tallied a goal in this 2015 contest.
IN OTHER USL NEWS…
FC CINCINNATI LETS GO OF HARKES AFTER ONE SEASON
One of the Riverhounds regular opponents, FC Cincinnati, after a wildly successful inaguaral season in 2016 under the on-field direction of former US National Team, MLS/EPL player John Harkes, announced they were parting ways with their coach.
Goal.com’s Ives Galarcep first reported Harkes’ ouster Friday night citing sources. The firing resulted from a power struggle, according to the report.
FCC also issued a media release later on Friday to confirm this news, and that assistant FC Cincinnati coach and director of scouting and analytics Alan Koch will act as the club’s head coach.
In a season which they shattered many league attendance records, Harkes led FC Cincinnati to the third-best record in USL (16-6-8).
The Riverhounds will face FCC in the second week of the regular season at Highmark Stadium on April 1.