Regular season play has finally arrived, and Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC is ready to kick off its 2019 campaign.
The start of a new season brings a whirlwind of emotions, and midfielder Kevin Kerr can already feel the buzz in the locker room. Kerr, the Black and Gold’s longest tenured player, mentioned that even with all of his experience he still gets excited for the first game of the season.
“First week, there’s every emotion,” Kerr said. "There’s relief that you’re through the preseason. We know how much work we’ve put in. Then there’s excitement for the season ahead. The first game, you can feel the tension. You can feel everybody a little more tuned in this week.”
Last season was one of the most successful ones in Hounds history, as the team hosted a playoff game for the first-ever time at Highmark Stadium. With the success in 2018, the midfielder knows there will be additional pressure this season to perform.
“Last year was a massive year for us in terms of how quickly we turned things around and we’re looking to move on,” Kerr said.
After five weeks of training, Kerr mentioned he could see the team really start to gel as a unit.
The final days leading up to Saturday would be dedicated to making final adjustments and tightening up any loose ends. On top of that, he stressed the importance of each player knowing his respective role and what the coaching staff is looking for.
“I feel like we’ve done the majority of the physical work,” Kerr said. “It’s been a long five or six weeks, and we’ve put in the miles. This week, I’m sure there’s going to be a big focus on just tweaking the small things, the tactical side of the game and making sure everybody knows what’s expected of them.”
The Hounds (0-0-0) open up their schedule with the Tampa Bay Rowdies (1-0-0) at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday at Al Lang Stadium. Tampa Bay opened up its season with a 1-0 win over Memphis 901 FC on March 9.
With the amount of work the team put in over the long preseason grind, Kerr noted the team already appears to be in good form and is anxious for Saturday’s contest.
“We’re finally playing for some points,” Kerr said. “We’re confident that we can go down there and get a result.”
Fans in the Pittsburgh area can watch the televised match at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday on Pittsburgh’s CW.