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Dani Rovira re-signs with the Hounds

Photo by Ed Thompson

Dani Rovira re-signs with the Hounds

On Monday, the Riverhounds SC announced they were bringing back another familiar face, as the club has re-signed Dani Rovira, as the 24-year-old defender / winger will return for a third season with the club in 2021. The deal is for one year with a club option for 2022, pending USL Championship and USSF approval.

Since signing with the Hounds during the 2019 preseason where he stood out as a trialist after four years at the University of Vermont, Rovira has been utilized as both a defender and as a midfielder, earning spot starts in spots primarily on the width.

“Dani has continued to develop as a player in his two years with the club,” Riverhounds head coach Bob Lilley said. “His quickness, technical ability, and versatility have enabled him to help the team in multiple positions, and we look forward to having him with our group in 2021.”

Originally from Bogotá, Colombia, Rovira made his club debut, starting in a 3-0 win over the Dayton Dutch Lions second-round of the U.S. Open Cup on May 14, 2019. He would go on to make eight USL appearances in his rookie season, four of them starts.

INSTANT ANALYSIS OF ROVIRA RE-SIGNING

During the course of his two seasons in Pittsburgh, Rovira’s role expanded.

Now a veteran, with two seasons playing under Lilley, Rovira did a decent job when filling in outside back and on the wing — and in one very interesting start when he marked Tyler Pasher the entire game. He stayed behind Jordan Dover and Ryan James on the depth chart and never really broke through to seize a starting spot, but was a reliable fill-in for both, making 10 appearances in 2021 and nine in 2019, with four starts each season.

With James signing with Birmingham, Rovira can have an opportunity to battle for a starting spot on the left outside back.

This move also shows that Lilley is intent on maintaining as much roster continuity as he possibly can despite losing some key players from the last few seasons.

While it may have been tougher for the Hounds to re-sign Thomas Vanceayezeele, James and Robbie Mertz, they have now brought back two players who had contracts expire at the end of 2020, team captain and USL Championship’s all-time leading assist man, Kenardo Forbes, and now Rovira. In addition, Pittsburgh picked up options for four additional players: Danny Griffin, Albert Dikwa, Jordan Dover, Anthony Velarde and goalkeeper Danny Vitiello.

The Hounds have also signed two new players to the 2021 roster: Russell Cicerone and Alex Dixon.

In 2020, Rovira made ten appearances and four starts out of 16 matches in the Covid-shortened season. Rovira also recorded his first assist last season when he set up Steevan Dos Santos for the opening goal of a 2-0 win at Loudoun United on August 19.

Are the Hounds done re-signing players from last year’s squad?  Of the players that had expiring contracts, only Mark Forrest and Ray Lee remain unsigned.  Steevan Dos Santos also moved on, signing with the Tampa Bay Rowdies.

In total, the Riverhounds SC now has nine players under contract for the 2021 season.

Forwards:  Russell Cicerone, Albert Dikwa, Alex Dixon

Midfielders:  Danny Griffin, Kenardo Forbes, Anthony Velarde

Defenders:  Jordan Dover, Dani Rovira

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).

Pittsburgh Division I College Soccer Schedule (Spring 2021)

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