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Signings of seasoned USL defenders Roberts, Pratzner solidify Hounds back line

Bob Lilley now has plenty of options on the back line as the Riverhounds head into the beginning of the season — as the club announced Wednesday the additions of preseason trialists and two seasoned USL veterans Hugh Roberts and Todd Pratzner on one-year deals with club options for the 2019 season.
Previously playing for Eastern Conference foes last season, Roberts joins the Black and Gold after competing for Bethlehem Steel FC, while Pratzner last played under head Lilley with the Rochester Rhinos.
These latest signings boost the Hounds’ roster to 21 players currently under contract.

Hugh Roberts BETH STEEL

Hugh Roberts

Roberts, 25, recorded 25 games played with Steel FC in 2017 and, including his postseason start, led the club with 112 clearances at central defense. His professional experience dates back to 2014, when he spent three seasons with the Richmond Kickers from 2014-16. He amassed 74 appearances and two goals in Virginia, including playing every minute of the 2016 campaign en route to USL All-League First Team honors.

“Hugh is an experienced guy in our league who will add some stability to our backline,” Lilley said. “He provides a solid presence in the air and takes pride in his defending.”

A native of Olney, Maryland, Roberts played collegiate ball at George Mason University from 2010-13. He finished his Patriots career with 69 appearances, six goals and nine assists, as well as several accolades, including All-Region and All-Colonial Athletic Association honors.

In addition to his time spent at George Mason, Roberts had a brief stint in the Premier Development League (PDL) with the Baltimore Bohemians from 2012-13.

Pratzner, 23, joins the Hounds after spending his rookie year in Rochester. The Lancaster, Pennsylvania native posted 13 appearances during the 2017 season in addition to starting both of the Rhinos’ playoff games.

“Todd was very reliable for us last year in Rochester,” Lilley said. “He’s a very coachable player who is always ready to take on whatever role he is given.”

Prior to his time in upstate New York, Pratzner competed at Xavier University from 2013-16. In 71 games played, the center back was named to the BIG EAST Conference All-Tournament Team as a junior, in addition to anchoring a defensive unit that set school records in shutouts (11) and team goals-against average (0.84) as a sophomore.

Pratzner’s amateur career is also of note, as he served as captain of the Philadelphia Union Academy team and trained with the Union MLS reserves in 2012.

All total, the Hounds now have 21 players signed to the roster.  There’s still a chance that Lilley may add another player here or there, but this is about the anticipated size of roster he was hoping to have prior to the season opener, which will be March 24 at expansion Nashville SC.
Roster breakdown for 2018 season
Forwards (4): Kay Banjo, Neco Brett, Dennis Chin, Romeo Parkes
Midfielders (8): Mouhamed Dabo, Ben Fitzpatrick, Bakie Goodman, Kenardo Forbes, Joe Holland, Christiano François, Kevin Kerr, Ben Zemanski
Defenders (6): Tobi Adewole, Jordan Dover, Joe Greenspan, Raymond Lee, Todd Pratzner, Hugh Roberts
Goalkeepers (3): Mike Kirk, Dan Lynd, Kyle Morton

Roberts, Pratzner and the rest of Riverhounds SC continues preseason action this weekend with a date against Penn FC on Saturday, March 10 at Highmark Stadium.

Set to kick off at 3 p.m., the match is free to attend for the public.

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).

Riverhounds MF Danny Griffin

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