They are loud.
They are proud.
And are becoming a Pittsburgh sports staple.
And one thing about Pittsburgh sports fans. They will follow their teams and support them at home and on the road. For example, we’ve seen hoards of Steelers fans filling up Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, or Penguins fans filling the seats in Tampa Bay and Pirates faithful in places as far away as San Diego.
The Pittsburgh Riverhounds supporters — the Steel Army — will be following in this tradition — as they embark on a road trip to follow their beloved pro soccer team north — to Upstate New York on Saturday. In all, it will be a bus of about 50 total Army members that will make the trip.
Last year, I survived a trip with the Army on their trek to Harrisburg to watch as former Hounds goalkeeper Hunter Gilstrap recorded a clean sheet as they tied Harrisburg in their final Keystone Derby encounter of 2014. I am looking forward to getting back on board their bus for another journey.
After spending time with them — and making that trip last June, I completed this piece – Foot Soldiers — for Pittsburgh Sports Report.
I remember how grateful the players were after the game last year to see that a big group of loyal fans at an away match — and Gilstrap may have said it best after the game.
“They’re an absolutely incredible group of supporters, we don’t deserve to have them following us around after some of the performances that we’ve put together as a team, but they’ve been there every step of the way,” Gilstrap said.
“Tonight, they made us feel like we were at home,”
Riverhounds President Richard Nightingale also recognized this — and rewarded the Army this year by sponsoring a bus trip for the Rochester game for the Army.
The Army has seen a slight increase in membership in 2015, and are slowly building their core base of supporters. They clearly provide the beat that helps the Riverhounds push on at each and every home game. You will hear them — singing, chanting, waving flags and pounding the drums.
They were at the absolute top of their game when the D.C. United came to Pittsburgh for a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup match on June 17 at Highmark Stadium.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette camera crew did a great job to capture the Army doing their thing that night…
The Riverhounds face their most daunting challenge of the year this week as they take on the top team in USL — Rochester Rhinos. And they could use every bit of support they can muster.
Last season the Riverhounds snapped a 19 game, 15-year winless string at Shalen Stadium by knocking off the Rhinos 3-2. They will be going for two in a row — and a chance to hand the Rhinos their first USL loss of the season with their most rabid fans cheering them on in person.
You can catch the match preview tomorrow — and follow the Riverhounds (and the Steel Army’s) trip to Rochester with Pittsburgh’s Soccer Report’s John Krysinsky @johnkrysinsky