HAMMERHEADS MAY NOT FIELD TEAM IN 2017
The Pittsburgh Riverhounds defeated the Wilmington Hammerheads on Saturday to finally get their first win of the year on the road.
While that was good news for the Hounds, and a tough break for the USL playoff contending Hammerheads, only a few days later, we discovered that things might be much worse in Wilmington.
There’s a real possibility that Wilmington will not field a team in the 2017 United Soccer League season.
The Hammerheads, who have been around since 1995 (four years more than the Riverhounds) took a one-year hiatus in 2010, and came back to USL in 2011, have not officially made any formal statements regarding this news, as it was reported by fellow USL soccer reporter Chad Hollingsworth (no relation to Marshall) on his site, Scratching the Pitch.
When the local paper, Star-News reached out to the Hammerheads Owner George Altirs, but he shared nothing.
“Nothing is confirmed,” Altirs said on Monday afternoon.
After a few days, the Hammerheads finally released a statement that didn’t answer many questions and didn’t deny the Scratching the Pitch article.
While there’s no official word, there is a chance that we may have seen the last of the Hammerheads in the ever-expanding and ever-changing USL. They could take the route that Charlotte Eagles and Dayton Dutch Lions took — dropping down a level to play in the USL-PDL league.
With growth that is seeing some new franchises set incredible records (expansion FC Cincinnati drawing more than 10,000 fans a game) and the bar is being set higher by the USL — some franchises like Wilmington may not be able to keep up.
In an interesting spin on this, the Hammerheads Youth Organization, a separate entity, which shares resources with the pro team, told Star-News’ Dan Spears that the future of the pro team will not affect their operations or status.
As you may know, the Pittsburgh Riverhounds youth academy operates separately from the pro team, and like the Hammerheads, the two entities share resources, facilities and there’s some cross-over with players involved in with clinics and coaching teams.
But the biggest difference between the Hounds, who’ve also struggled with ticket sales this season, and Hammerheads might be stadium. For the Hounds, and pro soccer’s future in Pittsburgh, at least has an asset in having a soccer specific facility with Highmark Stadium, while the Hammerheads’ Legion Field is a multi-use facility and not exclusive to the team. The USL has been pushing for all of its teams to have soccer specific home stadiums.
USWNT WIN OPENER; STEEL CITY OUTLAWS VIEWING PARTIES FOR OLYMPICS
Last night the U.S. Women’s Soccer team kicked off their quest for Olympic gold — by defeating New Zealand 2-0, thanks to a first half goal by Carli Lloyd and a nifty Alex Morgan strike in the 46th minute.
The American women ran their winning streak in Olympic competitions to 12 games.
The Steel City chapter of the American Outlaws will be hosting viewing parties at Claddaugh in South Side Works for all of the U.S. Women’s National Team games in the Olympics.
Gibsonia’s Meghan Klingenberg was solid as usual in playing a full 90 plus minutes at left outside back — although there was one little throw-in that she wished she had back…
Overall though it was a solid effort for “Kling.”
As she was active getting up the flank to help spark attacking sequences, tucked inside to overload the middle and leave space out wide and she hit a nice cross that Morgan Brian headed wide.
Here’s the remaining schedule for the USWNT.
Sat., Aug. 6 – France (4 p.m. ET) at Mineirão Stadium
Tues., Aug. 9 – Colombia (6 p.m. ET) at the Amazônia Stadium in Manaus
Sat., Aug 13 – Quarterfinals
Wed., Aug 17 – Semifinals
Sat., Aug 20 – Bronze and Gold Medal Games
If you missed Pittsburgh Soccer Report’s preview/schedule of Olympic soccer, be sure to check it out here.
KERR, HERTZOG EARN USL TEAM OF WEEK HONORS
It had been a while since the Riverhounds won — and also been a while for a player to get some recognition from the USL’s weekly honors and USL Team of the Week.
This week that changed, and team captain Kevin Kerr was named to the USL Team of the Week for his performance in leading the Hounds to a 4-1 win at Wilmington.
Kerr scored a terrific goal volleying home a shot from the left side to open up the scoring. It was his four goal of the season.
Joining Kerr in receiving weekly honors, was Corey Hertzog, who received honorable mention as a member of the Team of the Week bench. .
Moments after the Kerr goal, in added time at the end of the first half, Hertzog gave the Hounds a rare two-goal lead at the half.
Hertzog also picked up a pair of assists in the second half. First, he hooked up with Stephen Okai on a nice give-and-go in the box, then he found a wide open Nick Thompson who scored his first goal as a Hound in the late stages.
CAMPBELL REACHES FIVE YELLOW CARDS – WILL SIT VS LOU CITY
Sergio Campbell, who has arguably been the Riverhounds best player this season was booked in the Wilmington match for his fifth yellow card of the season.
With Campbell having to sit out, the Hounds will be tested against one of the top teams in the USL — and a team that tattered them for a handful of golden opportunities in a 2-2 draw played at Slugger Field in late April.
At the end of the Wilmington game, with Campbell sidelined due to an injury, and Ryan Adeleye being subbed, the Hounds were left with veteran Willie Hunt and Zak Boggs playing the center back spots while Marshall Hollingsworth and Mike Green were at outside back.
Look for some combination of these players to make up the back four against Louisville City on Friday.
I will have more on that game in this week’s edition of BREAKING DOWN THE HOUNDS.