From season ticket holders to first-time Highmark Stadium attendees, Riverhounds fans enjoyed a meet-and-greet with players, the 2017 season kit reveal and a Q&A session with head coach Dave Brandt during Sunday’s Fan Fest.
Seasoned fans looked forward to another year of USL play. Steve, a season-ticket holder of the team, hopes the Hounds will jump out to a quick start this season. He also liked Pittsburgh’s “attacking mentality” approach in games and seeing returners Corey Hertzog, Danny Earls and Kevin Kerr back with the team.
“It’s nice to see Corey, Kevin and Danny come back and play with the younger Crew players,” Steve said. “I’m looking forward to Brandt’s first-full year.”
Hounds fans Ruth, Katie, John and Lisa, who have been season ticket holders for about seven seasons, enjoy seeing Earls and Kerr return for the 2017 campaign as well. Ruth is drawn to Kerr’s work ethic whereas Earls’ in-game emotion sticks out to Lisa.
“Earls gives 110 percent,” Lisa said.
The group also looks forward to the Fourth of July match against the Charlotte Independence at Highmark Stadium.
In addition to the professional team, they have an appreciation for the Riverhounds Academy and the work it does for youth soccer in Pittsburgh, as family members have previously participated in the Academy.
Highmark Stadium, which celebrates its five-year anniversary, is a draw for other fans as well. Mark and Logan believe the stadium provides a beautiful place for the club, having a backdrop of the city’s skyline across the Monongahela River.
“It’s nice that the team found one, consistent place to play its home games,” Mark said.
The pair’s favorite experience at Highmark Stadium occurred in 2015 when the Hounds faced off against D.C. United of MLS in the U.S. Open Cup. They remembered a packed stadium and the match’s electric atmosphere.
This year, Mark and Logan look forward to seeing loaned players from Columbus Crew SC of MLS, such as Marshall Hollingsworth, as they appreciate the affiliation that the two clubs share.
The stadium also remains an attraction for newer fans like Ryan and Susan. Having moved to Pittsburgh from Seattle, they both are readying for their first-full year watching the team at Highmark.
Unlike Ryan, who has had the privilege of watching a few games at Highmark in the past, Susan enjoyed her first Highmark Stadium visit at Fan Fest. She said the stadium is “incredible” and will be a “great place” to watch soccer this season.
“At Highmark, you’re up-close to the action and the players,” Ryan said.
The Hounds face off against the New York Red Bulls in their season opener at 5 p.m. this Saturday at Highmark Stadium.