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Pittsburgh Riverhounds

Hounds sign three trialists to solidify midfield and back line

Ethan Kutler played two seasons with NY Red Bulls organization. Photo courtesy NY Red Bulls

from Riverhounds SC report 

The Riverhounds SC roster for the 2019 season has now reached 20 players — as the club announced on Friday the signing of midfielder Ethan Kutler, defender Dani Rovira and defender Uchenna Uzo to one-year contracts with club options for the 2020 season, pending USL Championship and USSF approval.

All three players have previously trialed with the club. Rovira and Uzo have been on trial since mid-February whereas Kutler arrived in camp this past week.

Kutler and Uzo are seasoned USL defenders who will provide quality depth to the Hounds back line, while Rovira is yet another young midfielder who can grow and develop while playing along side numerous proven veterans.

“As the quality of our group has improved during our preseason, Ethan, Dani and Uchenna have demonstrated consistency and the ability to help us moving forward,” Bob Lilley, head coach, said.

Midfielder Ethan Kutler

Having prior MLS experience, Kutler arrives in Pittsburgh after spending 2017-18 with New York Red Bulls and New York Red Bulls II. Last year, he played four games and logged two assists with the MLS club and appeared in 26 games, posting two goals and one assist, with the USL Championship side.

“Ethan is a versatile player who can score goals and provide quality service for our forwards,” Lilley said.

Kutler made his professional debut against the Hounds on March 25, 2017, in a wild, 3-3 draw at Highmark Stadium. Including playoffs, he went on to appear in 18 games for Red Bulls II that season en route to one goal and one assist.

New York drafted Kutler with the No. 39 overall pick of the 2017 MLS SuperDraft.

Prior to playing professionally, the Lansing, New York native played collegiately at Colgate University. He posted 73 games played (70 starts), 33 goals and 15 assists while with the Raiders. When he ended his Colgate career, his 81 points ranked second in program history.

Defender Dani Rovira

Playing his collegiate junior and senior campaigns at the University of Vermont from 2017-18, Rovira totaled 33 games played (23 starts) and two assists while at the school.

“Dani is a young, dynamic player with tons of energy who has grown quickly during preseason,” Lilley said.

The Bogota, Colombia native began his college career at Dean College, where he was named to the United States Collegiate Athletic Association All-America Second Team as a sophomore after finishing third on the squad with seven assists.

Defender Uchenna Uzo

Uzo has prior USL Championship experience, playing for Phoenix Rising FC from 2016-17. During his two seasons with Phoenix, he posted 24 games played.

“Uchenna is a physical presence with experience in this league who will add to our quality and depth at the center back position,” Lilley said.

The Houston, Texas native played three seasons collegiately, all of which at Coastal Carolina University. During his senior campaign, he started 22 of 23 games played en route to First Team All-Big South honors. As a junior, he started all 23 of his games played and was named Second Team All-Big South. He also was a mainstay on the Chanticleers backline as a sophomore, appearing in 25 matches and starting his final 23 games played.

Uzo, born in Lagos, Nigeria, was a member of the U-17 Nigeria National Team.

With these three additions, Riverhounds SC currently has 20 players under contract heading into the 2019 campaign.

Roster breakdown for 2019 season

Forwards (3): Neco Brett, Steevan Dos Santos, Christian Volesky

Midfielders (8): Mouhamed Dabo, Kenardo Forbes, Noah Franke, Sammy Kahsai, Kevin Kerr, Ethan Kutler, Thomas Vancaeyezeele, Anthony Velarde

Defenders (7): Tobi Adewole, Jordan Dover, Joe Greenspan, Ryan James, Dani Rovira, Caleb Smith, Uchenna Uzo

Goalkeepers (2): Ben Lundgaard, Kyle Morton

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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