Some of our favorite photos from the preseason thus far.
Striker Christian Volesky scores goals on the field and enjoys fishing off of it.
In 2015, the trio of Steevan Dos Santos, Christian Volesky and Kenardo Forbes spearheaded the attack for the Rochester Rhinos’ USL Cup championship team. Now the band is back together in Pittsburgh and is looking to recreate the magic they created up north.
“I knew a couple guys, and of course my teammates from Rochester,” Dos Santos said. “We kept talking, even after we left Rochester. Kenardo was always saying, ‘Come to Pittsburgh and play with us,’ and all of that. I had the possibility to come this year and I just came.”
Forbes’ persuasion efforts paid off, and Dos Santos and Volesky both signed with Riverhounds SC this offseason. The three players have all reunited with each other, and they are also back under the direction of head coach Bob Lilley. Lilley coached the trio during their stay in Rochester.
Though it’s still the preseason, Dos Santos can already see similarities between the 2015 Rochester squad and the current group in Pittsburgh. The biggest likeness being the team’s work ethic and attitude. Dos Santos knows if they continue to approach each day with the same mindset, the Hounds can make big things happen.
“The work is like the same work that Bob had us do in Rochester,” Dos Santos said. “It’s different players, but it’s the same mentality. Hardworking team, and that’s it. Work hard for the team and anything else is going to come.”
Dos Santos hasn’t set any specific goals for himself this season, but does hope to continue to grow his game. One thing Dos Santos and his teammates can all agree on is that they want to play quality soccer and earn positive results.
“I always want to get better,” Dos Santos said. “Even being a veteran, you still have a chance to improve every year. I hope to do better than I did last year and help the team to win as much as possible.”
Dos Santos, Volesky and Forbes have two more opportunities to continue to reignite their relationship this weekend. The Hounds take on the University of Pittsburgh at 7 p.m. on Friday at Ambrose Urbanic Field before battling Bethlehem Steel FC at 2 p.m. on Sunday at Highmark Stadium.
Catch up with Hounds defender Tobi Adewole.
Although only two weeks into the preseason, Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC has demonstrated the ability to lock down opposing attacks like it did in 2018.
After four preseason matches, the squad has posted 360 minutes of shutout play. And for much of the action, the opposing teams have struggled to post shots on target. Despite these numbers, the team and coaching staff realize they will need to shore up any weaker spots by the time regular season competition rolls around.
“They’re facing very few shots in four games,” head coach Bob Lilley said about his goalkeepers and backline. “Maybe at most they’ve faced a handful of shots. Everyone in camp has to get better over the next four weeks.”
As the Hounds continue to build off of these strong defensive showings, here is a breakdown of the team’s current backline.
Outside backs: Jordan Dover and Ryan James
As Jordan Dover enters his second straight season with the club, Ryan James readies for his first campaign with the Hounds. Both players present the flexibility to support the attack on the flanks as well as send crosses into the penalty box in attacking situations.
Center backs: Tobi Adewole and Joe Greenspan
Both entering their third season with the club, Joe Greenspan and Tobi Adewole will once again be relied upon to hold down the center of the backline. Greenspan is coming off of an All-League First Team season whereas Adewole owns the second-most games played for the club of currently rostered players.
Swiss Army knife: Thomas Vancaeyezeele
Even though he is more slated to play a holding role in the team’s midfield this season, Thomas Vancaeyezeele can once again find himself offering reinforcements on the squad’s backline in 2019. Last season, he played both center back and outside back, which provides him with the experience to fill in when needed.