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PSN 1-on-1: Riverhounds SC’s Russell Cicerone

Photo courtesy Justin Berl

Russell Cicerone had a breakout season with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC in 2021, leading the club with 16 goals.  The Bloomfield Hills, Michigan native is hoping to build off that momentum as he enters his second season with the club.

Head Coach Bob Lilley describes Cicerone as “tenacious”.  Cicerone is constantly proactive, moving well without the ball and covers a lot of ground as a two-way player who has fit well with the Riverhounds SC since his arrival.

Under Lilley, Cicerone has thrived in a system that encourages him to make timely runs and find ways to get behind the defense.

“For a hard-working player with a non-stop engine, he’s also very creative.  He has a quick release.  He hits the target more times than not,” Lilley told Pittsburgh Soccer Now earlier this week.

With the addition of USL Championship’s all-time leading goal scorer Dane Kelly to a group that already includes the USL’s assist king Kenardo Forbes and the dynamic Alex Dixon, who paired up with Cicerone to form a dangerous scoring duo in 2021, the Hounds will have plenty of weapons leading the attack.

Even early on this preseason, Lilley said that Cicerone has been in good form, creating a number of chances in the Hounds’ intersquad scrimmage on Saturday.

In this interview on Pittsburgh Sports Live, among the topics discussed with Cicerone include:

  • Disappointing ending to 2021 season
  • Having a strong returning core of players coming back to the club
  • Finding his way in becoming goal scorer at this level
  • What goes into making timely runs and finding space to create scoring opportunities
  • Building chemistry with other forwards and midfielders
  • What it’s like playing for Bob Lilley
  • Looking ahead to 2022 and season expectations

 

As a collegiate player, Cicerone scored 42 goals and 22 assists in 71 games for the University of Buffalo Bulls from 2013-16. After an excellent freshman season, Cicerone still felt like he needed something else to help take his game to another level.

In the summer of 2014, Cicerone joined on to be part of FC Buffalo’s NPSL squad.

Coming out of college, Cicerone was drafted by the Portland Timbers, but then spent the next four seasons competing in the USL Championship, with Portland, FC Cincinnati and the last two with Saint Louis FC.

With the versatility to play on the wing or in a central role, Cicerone scored five goals in each of the 2019 and 2020 seasons while totaling 49 appearances for Saint Louis.

In Pittsburgh, it appears that the Motor City native took his game to an even higher gear and may have found a place where he can thrive on a championship caliber contender.

FINAL: Riverhounds SC 2, Charleston Battery 1

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

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).

Riverhounds MF Danny Griffin

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