PITTSBURGH (March 24, 2017) – The Pittsburgh Riverhounds have announced multiple roster moves ahead of tomorrow’s season opener against New York Red Bulls II at Highmark Stadium.
The club has added two players in trialist Gale Agbossoumonde on a one-year deal and Columbus Crew SC midfielder Abuchi Obinwa via loan on a match-by-match basis, while also mutually agreeing to part ways with midfielder Bryan Arguez. In addition, Pittsburgh has deactivated midfielder Cristian Martinez to further clear roster space. All moves are pending USL and USSF approval.
With the latest transactions, the Hounds head into opening kickoff with 27 players on their roster, including 16 newcomers.
Joining the team on trial earlier this month, Agbossoumonde, 25, played in the club’s final three matches of the preseason. He previously played at the NASL level for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers in 2016 and Tampa Bay Rowdies in 2015, making 39 appearances in total and tallying one goal.
“Gale is a late preseason addition to a group of center backs that has potential, but just enough uncertainty there that when we got the opportunity to sign him, we wanted to take advantage of it,” said head coach Dave Brandt. “He’s a big, experienced, full-time center back that will further help solidify that position for us.”
A native of Syracuse, New York, Agbossoumonde began his professional career with Miami FC in 2009. After six appearances with Miami, he was loaned to Braga of the Portugese Primeira Liga in 2010.
As a result of a three-and-a-half year contract signed with Traffic Sports Marketing, Agbossoumonde also had stints with numerous professional teams from 2009-12. The defender appeared with the Carolina RailHawks of the NASL in 2012, Eintracht Frankfurt II of the German Regionalliga Südwest league from 2011-2012 and Djurgardens of the Swedish Allsvenskan league in 2011.
Agbossoumonde then moved to MLS via a weighted lottery, joining Toronto in 2013. He amassed 1,081 minutes in 13 games for Toronto before being traded on May 8, 2014 to the Colorado Rapids.
Internationally, Agbossoumonde has appeared in one match for the United States National Team, debuting in a 1-0 friendly victory against South Africa in 2010. The defender also played for the U-20 squad, scoring two goals in 30 appearances.
For Obinwa, 20, the midfielder becomes the fourth player to be loaned from Columbus to Pittsburgh this offseason. A native of Columbus, Obinwa signed with Crew SC this past January, having last played for the U-19 German club Hannover 96. Prior to signing with Hannover, Obinwa recorded a stint with Chicago Magic PSG, an affiliate of French side Paris St. Germain.
“I really like Abuchi. We’ve worked with him for about two weeks or so and he’s been absolutely a pleasure to work with and obviously an excellent player,” Brandt said. “It’s a crowded midfield right now, so we’ll have to sort out how to best use him and how to best use the other guys, but we’re really happy to have Abuchi here.”
Obinwa also has experience with the U.S. Youth National Team, registering playing time with the U-18s in 2014 and U-20s in 2015.
In addition, Arguez’s mutual release comes in part to the midfielder still dealing with injuries sustained during the offseason. Signed originally in December of last year, Arguez did not register an appearance for the club during the preseason.
“We’re certainly disappointed to see Bryan go,” Brandt said. “I wouldn’t say this closes the door on anything potentially happening with him and the club in the future, he just needs to get healthy before we can consider making that step a possibility.”
The Hounds kick off the 2017 season at 5 p.m. tomorrow at Highmark Stadium. Facing reigning league champion New York Red Bulls II, the match will feature a “Five Seasons on the Mon” commemorative scarf giveaway to the first 2,000 fans through the gate, presented by #1 Cochran, as well as $1 drinks leading up to kickoff. For tickets, visit Riverhounds.com.