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BREAKING DOWN THE HOUNDS: Ohio St Provides 2nd Preseason Test

Riverhounds coach Mark Steffens is working on building team chemistry in the preseason
Pittsburgh Riverhounds vs Ohio State Buckeyes 
2 p.m. – Highmark Stadium
About the Buckeyes
Coming off 13-7-2 season in which they were Big 10 2015 Tournament Runner-up and made it to the second round of the NCAA Division I tournament, losing to Jordan Morris and eventual National Champs, Stanford.  The Buckeyes don’t have any Pittsburgh area players on their roster, but Jacob Duska, a red shirt freshman in 2015, who transferred from Michigan, is from Erie, where he played at Erie Cathederal Prep.
Riverhounds Building Chemistry, Competition For Playing Time
It will be a chance for many of us to get a first glancé at the 2016 Pittsburgh Riverhounds, as they continue the preseason today with its first home scrimmage against Ohio State.
The first three preseason matches scheduled are against NCAA Division I Big Ten opponents.   Last week, the Hounds traveled to State College, defeating Penn State 2-1. Next Sunday, the University of Michigan men’s team will be at Highmark Stadium.
Riverhounds Head Coach Mark Steffens has said a few times already in preseason that he is pleased to have a lot of depth and healthy competition for spots.
Now comes the real work.
Building team chemistry and getting everyone to play well together within Steffens’ system which he mostly utilized a 4-2-3-1 formation in 2015.
In the offseason, the Hounds appeared to be busy, signing  host of new players, in addition to keeping a core group of returning players in Steffens’ second season at the helm in Pittsburgh, while dealing with a few key losses in preseason in the form of Rob Vincent‘s transfer to DC United and Sterling Flunder‘s retirement.  What the Hounds  now have is a roster filled with a core group of 22 to 26 year old players with a few veterans (Hunter Gilstrap, Willie Hunt, Kevin Kerr) and a teen (Canadian Duwayne Ewart).
Here’s a look, roughly, position-by-position of the roster as we know it.
Zak Boggs
** Sergio Campbell
** Duwayne Ewart
Corey Hertzog
Romaro Parkes
James Bissue
Mike Green
Alex Harlley
Stephen Okai
Kevin Kerr
Nick Kolarac
Lebo Moloto
** Caleb Postlewait
Defense/Back Line
Willie Hunt
Drew Russell
Karsten Smith
Ryan Dodson
Isaiah Schafer
Mauricio Vargas
Hunter Gilstrap
Brenden Alfery
The Riverhounds are also expected to. be adding players on loan from MLS Affiliate Columbus Crew in March.
**Not Officially Signed but training with Riverhounds in Preseason

John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets. He is also author of 'Miracle on the Mon' -- a book about the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, which chronicles the club, particularly the early years of Highmark Stadium with the narrative leading up to and centered around a remarkable match that helped provide a spark for the franchise. John has covered sports for Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, DK Pittsburgh Sports, Pittsburgh Sports Report, has served as color commentator on Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC broadcasts, and worked with OPTA Stats and broadcast teams for US Open Cup and International Champions Cup matches held in the US. 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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