After being drafted 39th overall in the MLS SuperDraft this January, and spending time in preseason camp with the Houston Dynamo, former Pitt Panthers center back Arturo Ordonez found himself back in Pittsburgh, with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC.
After training with the club for a few days as a trialist, the Salou, Spain, native inked a deal to stay in Pittsburgh, as he’s been signed to a one-year contract, with the club holding an option for 2023.
As a key anchor along the back line the past three seasons for the Panthers, Ordoñez finished the 2021 season with three goals, one assist and 18 shots in 19 games played.
Ordonez was a pivotal piece to the Panther back line that earned six shutouts this season and set a school record with 11 wins at home. Ordoñez‘s efforts on the field earned him All-ACC Second Team and All-ACC Tournament Team honors.
Arturo Ordonez, a big part of @Pitt_MSOC success in past three yrs, a hard nosed center back, who's been in camp with the Hounds this week, is the odds on favorite here.
— John Krysinsky (@JohnKrysinsky) February 17, 2022
Hounds Head Coach Bob Lilley told Pittsburgh Soccer Now last week that he was looking forward to the possibility of signing Ordonez.
“He’s a no-nonsense player. Tough, hard-nosed. He has good foot skills and will be a nice fit for us.”
“His competitive nature and ability to play out of the back will only strengthen the overall quality of our defensive group,”
The Hounds now have 16 players announced under contract for the 2022 season, which begins March 12 at Memphis 901 FC. They will continue their preseason schedule with Ordoñez getting to face his former college team, as the Hounds travel across town to face Pitt at 1 p.m. this Saturday at Ambrose Urbanic Field.
PSN Takeways: Arturo Ordonez Signing
This is another sign that Bob Lilley is paying close attention to the level of talent that Jay Vidovich has been bringing in to fortify the Pitt men’s soccer program in recent years.
A familiar face to Pittsburgh soccer fans, Ordonez was a key piece of the puzzle to Pitt’s success the past three years. It will be interesting to see how he can progress as a professional. By re-landing in Pittsburgh, in the second division USL Championship, Ordonez probably more prepared to play immediately at a higher level than the likely landing spot he would have gone with Houston’s MLS Next squad.
With Lilley showing interest in Ordonez, he decided to make his way to Pittsburgh to be part of one of the top-level teams in the USL Championship.
With Shane Wiedt and Robby Dambrot, two players who preceded Ordonez at Pitt, the Riverhounds now have three former Panthers along the back line. Ordonez is good in the air, strong on the ball, very reliable in one-on-one defending and recovery at the highest level of college soccer.
While Lilley has indicated that the trio of Mekiel Williams, Jelani Peters and Shane Wiedt ended the 2021 season in solid form and are likely mainstays along the back line, adding a player with Ordonez’s caliber and experience (and a bit older for a recent college player), will give the Hounds solid depth along the back line. If Ordonez can play at a high level, he’ll be a solid option along the back line as the Hounds go through the rigors of a long season and international call-ups.
We’ll see now if his game can translate to the professional ranks.
Riverhounds Roster (as of 2/17/2022)
- Goalkeepers (0) — None
- Defenders (7) — Robby Dambrot, Jelani Peters, Dani Rovira, Shane Wiedt, Jesse Williams, Mekeil Williams, Arturo Ordonez
- Midfielders (3) — Kenardo Forbes, Danny Griffin, Angelo Kelly-Rosales
- Forwards/Wingers (5) — Russell Cicerone, Albert Dikwa, Alex Dixon, William Eyang, Dane Kelly