The Riverhounds are on the eve of a big game against FC Cincinnati and I thought it would be a fitting occasion to revisit the first goal that the Pittsburgh Riverhounds scored in franchise history.
So why now you ask? Well…..it just so happens that the first Riverhounds goal was scored against the Cincinnati Riverhawks during the 1999 A-League campaign.
So let’s set the scenario.
It was May 1, 1999 and it was the Riverhounds franchise debut.
Bethel Park Stadium was buzzing which was probably unusual for a Saturday evening. There was a standing room only crowd of 5,639 (321 over seat capacity).
The Riverhounds were donning their white kits and the Cincinnati Riverhawks were in their blues. In the 30th minute Riverhounds midfielder/defender Emil Haitonic of Romania unleashed a shot from about 25 yards out and caught Cincinnati goalie Chris Wanamaker a little flat-footed.
The celebration that followed would include Pittsburgh coaching icon John Kowalski who was greeted on the sideline.
Haitonic would not only score the first goal in franchise history but would also record the first assist and receive the first yellow card.
Hockey fans would call that a Gordie Howe hat-trick! Ironically, Haitonic would later go on to play for the Cincinnati Riverhawks from 2000-2002 and has had a career in coaching soccer since.
I will be uploading the game in its entirety next year on the 20th anniversary so stay tuned!
On a personal note, I didn’t attend the game unfortunately. I’m going to venture a guess that I was at Metropol trying to dance. They had 80’s night on Saturdays.