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Best of the Decade: Part 1

By Anthony Picardi, 12/30/19, 9:15AM EST

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In the midst of its 20th anniversary season, Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC pieced together one of the best campaigns in team history to cap off the decade. A decade that saw the team graduate from the likes of Chartiers Valley High School to prosper at Highmark Stadium.

It’s time to take a look back at the heights of the 2010s.

The 2010 Season

The Hounds entered the decade with an all-star roster. Notable names included Hunter Gilstrap (Goalkeeper of the Year and All-League First Team), Shintaro Harada (Defender of the Year and All-League First Team), Jeremy Deighton (Rookie of the Year and All-League Second Team) and Chad Severs (All-League Second Team).

The team allowed just 1.00 goals per game en route to a 7-5-8 overall record under head coach Justin Evans. The well-rounded defensive squad also notched six clean sheets in 20 regular season games. Ultimately, the club fell in the semifinals of the postseason to the Richmond Kickers.

Highmark Stadium Grand Opening

From bouncing around the Pittsburgh area for their first 13 years of existence, the Hounds found a permanent home at Highmark Stadium in 2013.

The club christened the turf with its first-ever match at the venue on April 13, 2013, against the Harrisburg City Islanders (now rebranded as Penn FC). Despite losing by a score of 2-1, the match served as a success and a sellout crowd of 4,000 welcomed the team to its new home, a seemingly natural fit for the Riverhounds.

José Angulo’s Magical MVP Campaign

In 2013, José Angulo not only scored the first-ever goal at Highmark Stadium but owned league competition. En route to producing one of the best individual seasons in club history, the striker potted 15 goals and four assists. His 34 single-season points are the fourth-highest total in franchise history.

At the end of the season, the league honored Angulo with plenty of hardware. The Colombian native earned MVP honors, in addition to Golden Boot and Scoring Champion distinctions.

MLS Battles

This past 10 years saw the Hounds face off against MLS teams in Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup competition on three different occasions (Chicago Fire in 2014, D.C. United in 2015 and Columbus Crew SC in 2019). Although the Black and Gold lost in each of these matchups, they surely provided memorable moments for the fan base.

Perhaps the most exhilarating showdown came when the squad hosted D.C. United at Highmark Stadium in 2015. In front of a sellout crowd, the Hounds took the MLS foe to extra time, as Rob Vincent’s penalty kick conversion in the 24th minute tied the score at 1-1. Pittsburgh could not hang on in the extra period and ultimately lost 3-1.

Miracle on the Mon

Losing 4-2 with 10 minutes remaining, all looked bleak when the Hounds battled the Harrisburg City Islanders on May 30, 2015. That is until something rather unusual happened.

In the 81st minute, Danny Earls scored for Pittsburgh to momentarily cut the deficit to one goal. However, the City Islanders struck back with a tally of their own in the 86th minute to reclaim a two-goal lead.

In the 90th minute, the Hounds still found themselves down by two goals. But then a miracle happened. Earls once again found the back of the net and Rob Vincent and Kevin Kerr each added stoppage time tallies, which brought the final to a 6-5 Hounds win.