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Hounds sign another former Rhino, veteran forward Alex Dixon

Alex Dixon when he was with Rochester Rhinos | photo courtesy Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

Hounds sign another former Rhino, veteran forward Alex Dixon

The Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC have begun the new year up to some old tricks.

The Hounds have signed yet another player who was an integral part of Bob Lilley’s Rochester Rhinos teams during their successful run from 2014-2017.

Riverhounds SC has signed veteran forward Alex Dixon to a one-year contract with a club option for the 2022 season, pending USL Championship and USSF approval.

Dixon, 30, provides another attacking option for the Hounds capable of playing on the wing or as part of a strike partnership up top.

“Alex is a dynamic player who has a good understanding of how to get into dangerous spaces,” Lilley said.

“He can play multiple positions, can score goals, and will help provide leadership in the locker room. We are excited to have him in Pittsburgh for the 2021 season.” A longtime presence in USL, Dixon has only become more seasoned as a goal scorer at each stop in his career.

The 5-foot-8 forward spent the past two seasons with Hartford Athletic, scoring 11 goals in 42 appearances after becoming one of the first players to sign with the expansion club. In total, Dixon has 37 league goals across six USL seasons with Rochester (2014-15), Oklahoma City (2017-18), and Hartford (2019-20), while also scoring twice in 2016 for the Jacksonville Armada of the NASL.

A Texas native, Dixon first broke into the pro ranks by signing as a homegrown player in 2011 with MLS’ Houston Dynamo after a three-year college career at North Carolina. He appeared in 13 matches for the MLS side and three more on a loan spell in 2013 with the Tampa Bay Rowdies, but his first regular action as a pro came under Lilley with 22 USL appearances for Rochester in 2014.

Dixon’s addition brings the total number of Hounds players under contract for 2021 to eight, as the team builds in pursuit of a fourth consecutive postseason appearance.

PSN’s TAKEAWAYS OF DIXON SIGNING 

Here comes again another ‘Rhino-Hound’ signing — as Dixon becomes the latest player who was part of Bob Lilley’s teams in Rochester and another key piece from the Rhinos 2015 USL Cup winning squad to sign in Pittsburgh.

At this point in his career, Dixon is a well-traveled USL veteran who has been a real pain for Hounds defenders to deal with through the years. In last year’s match in the very opening minutes of the match at Hartford, the speedy winger/forward was a nuisance — forcing Hounds keeper Tomas Gomez to foul him just outside the box.

With the additions of Russell Cicerone and Dixon, along with Albert Dikwa, suddenly the Hounds have lots of speedy, high energy options for its top attacking line (could we see some 4-3-3 from the Hounds this year?).

Dixon was a key contributor in the Rhinos’ 2015 USL Championship-winning season, appearing in 24 regular-season and all three playoff matches that year. He has a history of scoring crucial goals at Highmark Stadium.

He netted the only goal in a 1-0 Rhinos victory in 2014, and he struck again with the deciding goal in a 2-1 win for the visitors the next season.

In addition, Dixon has remained connected with Lilley and many of his former teammates in different ways — and Lilley’s quote about Dixon bringing additional leadership is evident.

Last year, when players from both Hartford and Pittsburgh — he was among the most vocal and outspoken players after they collectively took a stand against racism following the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

Dixon told the Hartford Journal-Inquirer that stopping at 7:00 was chosen to symbolize the seven times Blake was shot, and resuming at 8:46 represented the 8:46 an officer kneeled on George Floyd’s neck when Floyd was killed on May 25 in Minneapolis, Minn.

“There’s things that are bigger than soccer and all sports across the world, and we just wanted to shed a little light on that and do our part.”

Riverhounds Players currently under contract (as of 1/8/2021):

Forwards – Russell Cicerone, Albert Dikwa, Alex Dixon

Midfielders – Danny Griffin, Kenardo Forbes, Anthony Velarde

Defenders – Jordan Dover

Goalkeepers – Danny Vitiello

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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