Born in Ontario, Canada, Tyler Pasher’s journey to becoming the current top goal scorer in the USL Championship has taken him to many places along the way.
Among the the many stops, Pasher’s first contract with a professional club in North America came in Pittsburgh, when he was part of an exciting Hounds club that scored many goals and played in many exciting matches.
Growing up, Pasher trained with Newcastle United several times. The Canadian also trained with his National team at the U17 and U20 level during his younger years. After high school, he then joined the Toronto FC Academy which is in the Canadian Soccer League.
Pasher ended up leaving Toronto FC in 2013 and signed a contract in Finland with the PS Kemi Kings. After a year there, he moved on to Lansing United in the North American Soccer League.
Finally, in 2015 Pasher landed in Pittsburgh, as head coach Mark Steffens took a chance in bringing the teen onboard to be a spark on the left flank.
It took Pasher some time to get acclimated, but he did score his first-ever professional goal for the Hounds against his youth club’s USL squad, Toronto FC II that April.
In 22 appearances for the Hounds that year proved to be a solid learning experience filled with personal ups and downs. There were times he was in Steffens’ doghouse, and other times where he was a key contributor for a club that has hopes to make a deep playoff run.
Pasher was the youngest player on a team that saw the emergence of other stars that season, notably Kevin Kerr, Rob Vincent who played the majority of time in attacking midfield positions along with another rookie that year, Lebo Moloto. Pasher was relegated to playing some left wing, but mostly rotated in and out of the lineup as a left back and started in the infamous ‘Miracle on the Mon’ match, but he didn’t finish, getting pulled at the half.
Pasher produced a pair of goals that season — including the one against TFCII.
His goal-scoring prowess would come in time.
The Hounds were not able to keep Pasher in Pittsburgh after that, as the Canadian took his game to another level in 2016 and 2017, when he joined the Swope Park Rangers in the USL, while also being called up on loan by Sporting Kansas City of the MLS. Pasher, along with his former teammate Moloto, were key players for SPR’s Western Conference championship winning squad in 2017.
In 2018, Pasher then signed with the Indy Eleven, and started to find his way up higher in the attack.
By 2019, with his relentless pace and improved technical ability, he became one of the most difficult players in the league for defenders to mark.
Pasher produced 11 goals in 32 games, a breakout season for the former Riverhound.
The Hounds saw this first hand when Pasher sparked a 2-1 comeback win at Lucas Oil Stadium. It would be Indy Eleven’s only win against Pittsburgh in the past two years since they came over to the USL Championship from the now defunct NASL.
In that match, Pasher led wave after wave of assults on the Hounds back line. One of his crosses led to the game tying goal.
Then Pasher gave the Eleven the lead.
As the Hounds didn’t do a great job of clearing the ball, eventually it came to Pasher, who used a great burst of speed to get behind a then first-year pro making his first USL Championship start, Dani Rovira, on the edge of the Hounds’ five-man back line.
Once behind Rovira, Pasher went top shelf to beat goalkeeper Austin Pack on a tough-angle shot to bring the score to 2-1.
In the next match in September, the Hounds kept Pasher in check, for the most part.
Still, Pasher showed a few moments of brilliance, even nutmegging his former teammate Kevin Kerr late in the first half, then turned toward goal at top of the arc where he drilled a shot that forced Hounds Kyle Morton into a save.
Now, during the shortened season of 2020, so far no one has more goals than Pasher.
Three games in and he is at the top of the table in with four goals and one assist. Pasher is involved in 62.5% of Indy’s goals. Actually if you go back to last season, Pasher has scored in five straight matches.
Looking further into the analytics, he also has completed seven key passes, 59 successful passes, four successful crosses, eight successful dribbles and has drawn four fouls. He also sits tied fourth in chances created in the league with eight, and has more shots taken than anyone with 16.
How will the Hounds control the speedy and dynamic Pasher?
“Since our last game against Philly, that’s all I’ve been thinking about,” Bob Lilley said. “He really stretches the field on you. You don’t really want a wide-open game when you have a player like him.”
On Wednesday night, before a national television audience, the Riverhounds will look to continue their hot start, but so will the Indy Eleven. Both teams are undefeated; Riverhounds are 2-0, Indy Eleven is 3-0.
Pasher got his USL Championship career off and running in Pittsburgh, so it’s fitting that he’ll will look to have a successful match against his former club in the first ever match at Highmark Stadium broadcast to a Nationally televised audience.
Lilley is just hoping the Hounds can keep him under wraps.
“What’s the old saying, ‘You can’t stop him; you can only hope to contain him?”
**Look for Mark Goodman’s preview and scouting report to drop on Pittsburgh Soccer Now on Wednesday prior to the match.**