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BREAKING DOWN THE HOUNDS: Zippin Up To Akron

 

Pittsburgh Riverhounds vs Akron Zips
4:30 p.m.
First Energy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field (Akron, OH)
(there will be no live stream available) 
ABOUT THE ZIPS (@zipsmsoc):
Last Season:  NCAA Men’s Division I College Cup (Soccer’s version of Final Four) – posting 18-3-3 record.
Head Coach:    Jared Embick (four seasons as HC – 48-13-6)
Unlike the first three college teams the Hounds faced, Akron’s roster doesn’t feature any players from the Greater Pittsburgh area.
They lose five starters from a terrific team that made it to the College Cup where they lost to eventual champs – Stanford University.  They have a lot of solid returning players including All Mid-American Conference first-team performers redshirt junior Sam Gainford (Liverpool, England), junior Stuart Holthusen (Auckland, New Zealand) and senior Brad Ruhaak (Akron, Ohio) in 2016 from a squad that captured Mid-American Conference regular season and tournament titles en route to advancing to the College Cup for the fourth time in program history.
This will be the Zips first spring season match.  They will also take on Notre Dame College (OH), at 7 p.m.

RIVERHOUNDS NEWS & NOTES

  • The Riverhounds have looked like a team that needs every minute of the preseason to keep working on getting in sync and into a rhythm that would be so essential in Coach Mark Steffens’ system.
  • After 2-1 and 1-0 wins over Penn State and Ohio State, the Hounds stumbled a bit, especially in the early going on Sunday, losing 2-1 to Michigan at Highmark Stadium.
    Loans

    Photo Courtesy of Pittsburgh Riverhounds

  • The Riverhounds roster appears to be mostly complete now — as the Hounds made it official yesterday – announcing that two players from Columbus Crew (Marshall Hollingsworth and 18 year-old Ben Swanson) — who made their Hounds debut on Sunday in the 2nd half, will be with the team at the start of the season.

“We’re fortunate to get Ben and Marshall on loan,” said Riverhounds head coach Mark Steffens.
“The Columbus coaching staff feels that both of them will be playing with their first team in Major League Soccer in the near future.”
“Marshall and Ben will benefit from valuable match experience while with Pittsburgh,” said Crew SC sporting director and head coach Gregg Berhalter. “We look forward to monitoring their progress during their time on loan.”

  • The Riverhounds signed an affiliation agreement with Crew SC last December to become the MLS side’s primary destination for loaned players. Columbus won last year’s Eastern Conference before falling short in its bid for a second MLS crown against the Portland Timbers.
  • It appears that the Hounds may be adding an additional preseason match later next week — as the season opener vs defending USL Champs, Rochester Rhinos, will be on Saturday, April 2 at Highmark Stadium.   No word on who the opponent might be — or where/when.  It’s likely that it may be a closed scrimmage.

 

John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets including Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, DK Pittsburgh Sports, Pittsburgh Sports Report, and more. Krysinsky also served as the Head Men’s Soccer Coach at his alma mater, Point Park University, where he led the Pioneers to the first-ever winning seasons and playoff berths (1996-98); head coach of North Catholic boys (2007-08), associate head coach of Shady Side Academy boys (2009-2014).

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