The fifth week of the preseason will begin for the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC with a three-hour road trip West to Columbus, where they’ll return for the first time since playing Major League’s Soccer’s Columbus Crew last June in the 4th Round of the U.S. Open Cup.
Officially, the Hounds begin week five with 17 players under contract, and an additional number (10 by our count) still in camp, and on trial with the club. However, as reported by Mark Goodman at Friday’s media day festivities, it was made known that the Hounds are expected to sign three players currently on the list of players on trial: goalkeeper Thomas Gomez, Dakota Barnathan and Danny Griffin.
So, below is the current expected roster breakdown, and below that all of the invitees who are expected to be with the club this week.
Current Roster (20 players)
*pending formal signing announcement
Forwards (4): Steevan Dos Santos, Lukas Fernandes, Mark Forrest, Ropapa Mensah
Midfielders (5): Kenardo Forbes, Robbie Mertz, Dani Rovira, Anthony Velarde, *Danny Griffin, *Dakota Barnathan
Defenders (7): Xhelil Asani, Jordan Dover, Ryan James, Mark Lindstrom, Skylar Thomas, Thomas Vancaeyezeele, Tony Walls
Goalkeepers (3): Anthony Mwembia, Danny Vitiello, *Tomas Gomez
Week Five Preseason Trial List
Name Pos Ht Wt Hometown (Previous Club)
Hunter Ashworth D 6-5 180 Laguna Beach, Calif. (UCSB)
Osagi Bascome M 5-11 NL Hamilton, Bermuda (Darlington)
Aydan Bowers M 6-0 165 Murrieta, Calif. (San Francisco Glens SC)
Devin Boyce M 5-10 155 St. Louis, Mo. (Saint Louis University)
Patrick Bunk-Andersen D 6-2 172 Copenhagen, Denmark (Toronto FC II)
Albert Dikwa F 5-11 161 Garoua, Cameroon (Saint Louis FC)
Jerry Wiltshire D 6-4 187 London, England (Des Moines Menace)
Bob Lilley has said for much of the preseason that he likes the core group of this squad.
So, what needs are there to still fill?
Even with the three pending signings, the Hounds still just have five midfielders, and only two true, big-bodied center backs: Skylar Thomas and Mark Lindstrom. With Lindstrom out for an undisclosed amount of time due to a meniscus injury, it’s likely that any additional signings will fill the need for more depth at center back and add another midfielder (or two).
Keep in mind, the Hounds started the season a year ago with a roster that was still a bit in flux, as Robbie Mertz, Mark Forrest and Prosper Figbe didn’t sign with the club until early April.
Preview: vs Columbus Crew (Monday, March 2; Obetz Training Center, 1 p.m.)
The Hounds have played to three straight draws in the preseason, with the last coming on Wednesday when they took on Loudoun United in a 1-1 tie.
The match against Crew SC is closed to the public.
In 2019, Columbus Crew SC recorded a 10-16-8 overall record. The MLS squad met Riverhounds SC in the fourth round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and defeated Pittsburgh, 1-0.
As Mark Goodman reported, there’s a chance that due to nagging minor injuries both Thomas Vancaeyezeele and Steevan Dos Santos will be held out of the scrimmage with the crew. Vancayezeele (calf) has missed the past two preseason matches.
The Crew were in New York yesterday for its MLS opener, a 1-0 win vs NYCFC, taking advantage of Maxime Chanot’s third minute red card, as Lucas Zelarayan scored in the 56th minute.
A day later, look for the Crew, who were affiliated with the Riverhounds in 2016 and 2017, currently don’t have a formal relationship with another USL Championship or League One club, to use this scrimmage to provide the players who didn’t play on Sunday or didn’t make the 18, to get a full 90 minutes against additional competition.
We will not have live coverage of the scrimmage, but look for a recap later in the day here on Pittsburgh Soccer Now.
Preseason concludes Saturday vs Toronto FC II
As they did a season ago, the Hounds will wrap-up the preseason schedule with a match against League One’s Toronto FC II on Saturday at Highmark Stadium (2 p.m.).