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Hounds’ Russell Cicerone named USL Championship’s Player of the Week

From USL Championship / Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC report

Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC striker Russell Cicerone was named the USL Championship’s Player of the Week for Week 18 after his three-goal performance Sunday in the Hounds’ 4-1 win over Atlanta United 2.The hat trick was the first for Cicerone since his college days at the University at Buffalo, and it brings the forward’s goal total in 2021 to 11 — one shy of matching in one season his career total of 12 scored from 2017-20.

FINAL: Miami FC 3, Riverhounds 2

With 11 goals, Cicerone is in a tie for second in the USL Championship for goals, trailing only the 19 scored by runaway leader Hadji Berry of Colorado Springs.Not only was Cicerone the scoring hero against Atlanta, he was praised after the match by coach Bob Lilley for his two-way play against Atlanta and in the 0-0 draw on Wednesday with the Tampa Bay Rowdies.

Cicerone connected on 15 of his 20 passes in the Atlanta match, as well.The honor is also the first time this season the Hounds’ leading scorer has been named in the starting 11 of the Team of the Week, though he did garner a bench honor in Week 9 of the season.

Joining Cicerone on the Team of the Week is midfielder Alex Dixon, who was named to the league’s best 11 for the fourth time in the past five weeks and fifth time overall in 2021.Dixon assisted two of Cicerone’s goals against Atlanta, which brings his team-leading total to seven on the season, one off the USL Championship lead. He finished the match with five key passes, and the 5-foot-8 winger also won all four aerial duels he contested against Atlanta.

The Riverhounds return to action on Saturday, when they go on the road to face Hartford Athletic in a 7 p.m. match at Dillon Stadium. The game will be shown on 22 The Point and streamed on ESPN+.

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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