With the 2020 season on pause, Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC and its fans will have to wait until the club kicks off in the home confines of Highmark Stadium. While the city longs for soccer to return to the banks of the Monongahela River, here are some of the club’s top home opener moments.
1999: The first-ever match
On May 1, 1999, a franchise made its debut. In front of a sellout crowd at Bethel Park High School Stadium, the Hounds took on the Cincinnati Riverhawks in their inaugural match.
Emil Haitonic scored the first goal in club history during the 30th minute before Tenywa Bonseu added another for the squad during the 75th minute. The game was a nail-biter until the end, when it advanced into penalty kicks. Pittsburgh fell 4-3 in penalties, but the club would rebound exactly one week later with its first-ever win at the home stadium.
2004: A 5-0 rout
The 2004 season ranks among the best in club history, as the Hounds put together a 17-2-1 record en route to a division championship. For the team’s first home match, it put on a show against the Northern Virginia Royals at Moon Area High School Stadium.
Eventual Rookie of the Year Said Ali potted a brace in the first half and David Flavius completed a brace of his own come the second half of play. Late in the match, Matt Chulis tacked on another goal for good measure, giving the team a 5-0 victory. This marks the largest home opener win in Riverhounds SC history.
2008: A return to the pitch
Taking the 2007 season off to reevaluate business operations, the home opener of the 2008 campaign marked a special moment – the return of professional soccer to Pittsburgh.
This season, the Hounds battled long-time rival Harrisburg City Islanders (now known as Penn FC) in their return to the pitch at Chartiers Valley High School Stadium. Just two minutes into the match, Pittsburgh scored its first goal at home since the hiatus, courtesy of Edward Hayden. The in-state rival would eventually tie the score in the 77th minute, which brought the match to its final of 1-1.
2013: Highmark Stadium grand opening
After years of playing at high school stadiums, the Hounds found a home of their own in 2013: Highmark Stadium.
The first-ever match played on its turf pitted Pittsburgh against the City Islanders in front of a sellout crowd. José Angulo scored the venue’s first-ever tally in the 70th minute to give the Hounds the 1-0 advantage. However, Harrisburg would ultimately storm back for the 2-1 win.
2015: A hat trick plus a brace
The Hounds yet again met the City Islanders in a high-scoring 2015 clash at Highmark Stadium. As both teams combined for a total of seven goals, Pittsburgh notched five of them with a hat trick and a brace.
Long-time Hound Kevin Kerr posted the hat trick, scoring in the 11th, 52nd and 78th minutes. Rob Vincent joined him on the scoresheet, posting tallies in the 5th and 90th minutes. This is the only match in team history where a pair of Hounds teamed up for a hat trick and a brace.