Looking for some much needed depth, the Riverhounds today announced the signing of a familiar face — Ray Lee.
The veteran defender is signed on for the remainder of the 2020 season, pending USL Championship and USSF approval.
Lee, who played for the Hounds during the 2018 campaign, last suited up in the USL Championship for Hartford Athletic in 2019. This will be his third different season playing under head coach Bob Lilley. Across five seasons at the USL Championship level, Lee has appeared in 93 matches.
To begin 2020, Lee competed for Chattanooga FC of the National Independent Soccer Association. He played one match for the club before its spring season was canceled.
While with Hartford in 2019, Lee started all 30 of his appearances for 2,663 minutes. Both his start and minute totals were the second-most for the club. The 27-year old also finished third on the team in clearances (53), blocks (10) and interceptions (36) while recording one goal and four assists.
During the defender’s first stint in Pittsburgh in 2018, he started 24 of 28 games played for 2,146 minutes. In addition to his 60 tackles and 60 clearances defensively, he added three assists on the offensive side of the ball. Despite a strong season with Pittsburgh in 2018, it was Lee who missed the only penalty kick attempt in the Hounds shootout with Bethlehem Steel FC in the USL Championship Eastern Conference quarterfinal, the first-ever playoff game played at Highmark Stadium.
In 2017, Lee suited up for Lilley with the Rochester Rhinos. Including his two postseason appearances (both starts), Lee registered 25 tackles and 22 interceptions in 16 games played (11 starts). The defender also recorded an assist in the Rhinos’ 2-1 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals win against the Charlotte Independence.
Prior to signing with the Rhinos, the Kansas City, Missouri native played for FC Tulsa during the 2016 season. He logged 1,459 minutes and four shots on goal in 19 games played for the USL Western Conference squad.
Originally drafted No. 71 overall by the Philadelphia Union in the fourth round of the 2015 MLS SuperDraft, the Saint Louis University product made his MLS debut against Sporting Kansas City on April 5 that year. Afterward, he was loaned to Penn FC, where he appeared in two matches.
WHAT THIS SIGNING MEANS
With Lee is returning, this will give Bob Lilley some much needed depth along the back line when penciling in his game day 18. Something apparently is not flying well with Xhelil Asani, who hasn’t made an appearance with the club and didn’t appear in the 18 on Saturday. With Mark Lindstrom on the players unavailable for selection list and Patrick Bunk-Anderson and Albert Dikwa not returning, and Lilley playing Ryan James at center back in the last match in favor of other options like Hunter Ashworth, this provides another reliable, veteran player that can play in the left back or left wing positions. I would anticipate Lee being valuable especially when the Hounds have to play a few more stretches where they’ll have multiple games each week.