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.