Position-By-Position Look at 2017 @PghRiverhounds #USL #PghSoccer

The 2017 season is officially here — and here’s an inexact but detailed look at the Pittsburgh Riverhounds roster by position.   With the latest transactions prior to the opener vs NY Red Bulls II, the Hounds head into opening kickoff with 27 players on their roster, including 16 newcomers.

I am sure that it will be Head Coach Dave Brandt’s goal to minimize turnover this season, after a 2016 campaign that included more than a half dozen new player releases and additions (not including players on loan from affiliate Columbus Crew).

GOALKEEPER

keasel-broome-signing-providence-carousel

Keasel Broome (Harrisburg City Islanders – USL, 25)

Broome played twice against Pittsburgh last season with the Harrisburg City Islanders, helping the Hounds cross-state rivals take the second edition of the Keystone Derby Cup.   As previously mentioned, the former Providence keeper was signed by the NY Cosmos, but didn’t appear in a games in 2015.  

Trey Mitchell (MLS League Pool, 25)

After initially signing with LA Galaxy, Mitchell has spent a good part of the past few years as an *MLS League Pool goalkeeper, including making an appearance for the Colorado Rapids in the 2016 U.S. Open Cup, as well as showings with D.C. United, Orlando City B, the Philadelphia Union and Sporting KC in 2015.

 

DEFENSE

Ryan Adeleye (Riverhounds, 29)

Brandt will likely be utilizing Adeleye as a center back.   After ten games with the Hounds in 2016, he provided mixed results, but with a chance to play a full season and train with the team from the beginning, he can become a more consistent player on the back line.  

Gale Agbossoumonde (Ft. Lauderdale, 25)
Joining the team on trial earlier this month, Agbossoumonde, 25, played in the club’s final three matches of the preseason. He previously played at the NASL level for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers in 2016 and Tampa Bay Rowdies in 2015, making 39 appearances in total and tallying one goal.
“Gale is a late preseason addition to a group of center backs that has potential, but just enough uncertainty there that when we got the opportunity to sign him, we wanted to take advantage of it,” said head coach Dave Brandt. “He’s a big, experienced, full-time center back that will further help solidify that position for us.”

Tobi Adewole (George Washington, 21)

Hounds add another young defender with some promise straight out of College.

Rich Balchan (Ottawa Fury, 28)

Balchan is a pro veteran who made three appearances for Ottawa last year, but had played with Columbus Crew in 2011/12 and Real Salt Lake — and then for Tampa Bay Rowdies when they were in the NASL.

Shane Campbell (Harrisburg City Islanders, 22)

A young defender that played in eight games with Harrisburg in 2016, and will try to compete for a position in the line-up.  

Jamal Jack (Club Deportivo Dragón, El Salvador, 29)

A veteran, big bodied defender that can provide depth on the back line and find have possible role at center back.   Some of his highlights indicate that he has also played in midfield and some forward.  

Taylor Washington  (Philadelphia Union – MLS / Bethlehem Steel FC – USL, 23)

Philadelphia Union 1st round SuperDraft pick in 2016 started 28 of 30 games for Bethlehem Steel FC in 2016 at left back, and was among the league leaders in minutes played.  The Union opted not to bring him back in 2017.   

Jack Thompson (Riverhounds, 24)

After playing his first pro season in Charlotte for the Independence in their inaugural season in 2015, Thompson played in a variety of spots last season for the Hounds when he was added to the roster in June.  He will likely be a player that Brandt will keep finding a way to plug into the line-up.   

Nick Thompson (Riverhounds, 28)

Of the Thompson brothers, he’s the bigger one, both in size, and in age.  Until last season, when Brandt brought him in to Pittsburgh, Thompson hadn’t played pro soccer since 2011, when he was a member of the Carolina Railhawks (now North Carolina FC).  He scored twice for the Hounds last year when he was used mostly in a late substitution role as a back-to-goal, hold-up striker, but was also used in the central midfield a few times as well.  

**ON LOAN**

Marshall Hollingsworth (Columbus Crew/Pittsburgh Riverhounds, 24)

Hollingsworth was a regular, steady contributor for the Hounds a year ago, proving himself as a player with an exceptional work rate mostly on the flank either in outside midfield and outside back roles.   It appears that Crew coach Gregg Berhalter would like to see Hollingsworth start the season in Pittsburgh again, but if needed, Hollingsworth could likely make spot appearances for the Crew as he did a year ago.

 

MIDFIELD

 

 

Ritchie Duffie (Virginia Commonwealth University, 24)

Former VCU standout, playing in his first pro contract, Duffie could be a midfielder or provide depth to the back line as well.  

Danny Earls (Riverhounds, 27)

5529e1139e50e_imageA former MLS player, and veteran of many USL battles, Earls seems to have found a home in Pittsburgh.  The Irish native has scored four goals in 65 club appearances.

Last season ended prematurely for Earls, after the Irishman was sent off in the final Harrisburg game for a hard challenge, and an ensuing scuffle which he also pushed an official.   He will begin the season serving the last part of a seven-game suspension handed down from the USL for that incident.  

Ben Fitzpatrick (Ohio State, 22)

A native of Hilliard, Ohio, Fitzpatrick starred at midfield for Urbana before transferring to Ohio State for his senior year.   Fitzgerald, who also helped the Michigan Bucks capture the 2016 Premier Development League title, provides the Hounds with depth in a midfield that includes a number of returning veterans.

Mike Green (Riverhounds, 27)

Green is the longest tenured Hound, having been with the team since in its last season that they played at Chartiers Valley High School in 2012.  The versatile Green has played most positions on the field for Pittsburgh, and could continue to find playing time either in the midfield or on the back line.  

Kevin Kerr (Riverhounds, 27)

Team captain in 2016, will be looking to continue to provide tireless work-rate and can move around to play defensive midfield, or on the flanks in an attacking role, where he excelled to the tune of nine goals and 10 assists in 2015.   

Abuchi Obinwa (20, Columbus Crew)

Obinwa, 20, the midfielder becomes the fourth player to be loaned from Columbus to Pittsburgh this offseason. A native of Columbus, Obinwa signed with Crew SC this past January, having last played for the U-19 German club Hannover 96. Prior to signing with Hannover, Obinwa recorded a stint with Chicago Magic PSG, an affiliate of French side Paris St. Germain.

Stephen Okai (Riverhounds, 27)

Okai has had some bright moments with the Hounds as a defensive midfielder.  With the addition of Ghanaian former Philadephia Union SuperDraft pick who excelled at University of Mobile and won NAIA Player of the Year honors, the Hounds have considerable veteran presence in the midfield.

Victor Souto (University of Akron, 22)

Apparently the talented, play-making midfielder was released from Akron in his senior year after playing only three games.  He had an outstanding career up to that point, posting nine goals and three assists in his four seasons with the Zips, including playing in College Cup.  

**ON LOAN**

Cristian Martinez  (Columbus Crew/Pittsburgh Riverhounds, 19)

The young Panamanian midfielder joined the Hounds on loan from Columbus in July, and played the rest of the season in Pittsburgh.  Martinez is currently playing with his National team’s U-20 team in CONCACAF Championship, and will likely join the Hounds in the second week of March.   

Ben Swanson (Columbus Crew/Pittsburgh Riverhounds, 19)

Swanson is a homegrown player who played for the Crew Academy throughout his youth living in Grove City, Ohio.  He was on the Riverhounds opening day roster and played intermittenly through the first half of the season.  But injuries and a bout with mono held back Swanson’s development and playing time.  The Crew would probably be very happy for him to get a full pro season under his belt in Pittsburgh to prepare him for the next level.

FORWARDS

Kay Banjo (Vancouver Whitecaps, 24)

The Hounds have already brought in a number of forwards with some scoring pedigree.  Banjo was a second round MLS SuperDraft pick of the Vancouver Whitecaps, but never saw the field for the Whitecaps.

Devaughn Elliott (Murcielagos, Mexico, 25)

Labeled as a second striker — could also play in an attacking midfield role or on the outside of the attack as well.  

Corey Hertzog (Riverhounds, 25)

Hertzog is a proven commodity at this level, and the Hounds decided after a productive first-season, the 26-year old Reading, PA native, would be an important piece to bring back as they look to turn things around in 2017.  

Kenroy Howell (C.D. Dragon, 23)

In addition to Jack, Howell also played with Club Deportivo Dragón, and made 16 appearances in total for the club, most notably netted his first goal in a close 2-1 defeat against the Portland Timbers at the CONCACAF Champions League in August.

John Manga (University of Cincinnati, 22)

Former refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Manga had a standout career at the University of Cincinnati, where he scored 16 goals and had five assists in 41 starts.

Chevaughn Walsh (Riverhounds, 21)

Walsh was the Premier Development League (PDL) MVP in 2016, and was signed by the Hounds in early August.  He played in six games, scoring once against Orlando City B.

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