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.
On Feb. 16, 2018, the Hounds ushered in a new era of Pittsburgh soccer.
With a new logo, new head coach and stadium expansion, the Black and Gold took a giant step forward. The new optics translated to a fresh start on the field, and the club turned a 8-12-12 record in 2017 to a 15-5-14 record in 2018.
Since the team moved into Highmark Stadium in 2013, one player had been a constant on the pitch for the Hounds. Kevin Kerr patrolled the midfield for the club over the course of seven seasons en route to logging 181 games played, the second most in franchise history.
This past season, Kerr etched his name in the record books as Pittsburgh’s all-time assist leader (27 career helpers with the Black and Gold).
Since Bob Lilley took the helm for the 2018 season, the last two years of soccer have presented an unmatched defensive effort. In 68 regular season games, the Hounds have posted 34 clean sheets – a whopping 50 percent of their games have they shut out opponents.
Perhaps the most impressive stretch within this remarkable period came during the 2019 season. On the back-half of the schedule, Pittsburgh shut out seven straight opponents (a team record) and posted 698 minutes of shutout soccer (the second-longest streak in USL Championship history).
It took six seasons, but the Hounds finally hosted their first-ever playoff game on the Highmark Stadium turf in 2018. Battling Bethlehem Steel FC (now rebranded as Philadelphia Union II), Pittsburgh ultimately fell in penalties (2-2, 8-7 P). The defeat was crushing, but one year later the squad would earn its first-ever playoff win at the home venue.
In the torrential rain against Birmingham Legion FC, the Hounds poured it on and won the match, 7-0. Pittsburgh went on to host a second playoff game against Louisville City FC, which it lost 2-1 in extra time.
These three playoff games account for the three highest attendance totals in venue history.
Recording a +28 goal differential with a 19-4-11 overall record, the Hounds finished 2019 as the USL Championship Eastern Conference regular season champions. This marked the first time the club won a division or conference title since 2004.
Along the way to clinching the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, Pittsburgh dominated the action on its home field. The team did not lose at Highmark Stadium in regular season play, logging a 10-0-7 record along the Monongahela River.