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Riverhounds pick up contract options on Mertz, Dikwa, Ybarra, Ordonez, Dossantos, Biasi and Waite

Riverhounds SC today announced their first roster moves for the 2023 USL Championship season with seven players confirmed to be returning to next season’s squad.

Midfielder and Pittsburgh native Robbie Mertzwas already under contract for next season, and he will be joined by six other players whose contract options for next year were picked up by the team. Those players are forward Albert Dikwa, midfielder Marc Ybarra, defenders Arturo OrdóñezNate Dossantos and Luke Biasi, and goalkeeper Jahmali Waite.

The group returns to the club after a 2022 season in which the team went 16-9-9 and reached the USL Championship Eastern Conference Semifinals before falling to eventual finalist Louisville in a shootout. The players rejoin coach Bob Lilley, who is entering his sixth season leading the Hounds, and the Hounds have qualified for the postseason all five years under his leadership, the longest such run in club history.

A few weeks back, we took a deeper look at the Hounds options.

Hounds hold 2023 contract options for bulk of roster (Update: Russ Cicerone to move on)

With those seven players returning, the Hounds declined options on the contracts of eight other players who played their first year with the club in 2022.

Among the players who the Hounds signed to new contracts ahead of the 2022 season, and the club chose not to pick up their contract for another season inclu

Kevin Silva

Toby Sims

Luis Argudo

Dane Kelly

Jesse Williams

Angelo Kelly-Rosales

Wiliam Eyang

Kenardo Forbes

Those players who’s contracts expired on November 30, who played out their second year included:

  • Mekeil Williams
  • Alex Dixon
  • Jelani Peters
  • Shane Wiedt
  • Dani Rovira
  • Russell Cicerone
  • Danny Griffin

In addition, two players who joined the roster in the middle of the 2022 season included Edward Kizza (on loan from New England Revolution — and his contract was not picked up by the Revolution) and Robbie Mertz (who’s contract was transferred from Atlanta).

Nine players from last year’s team were out of contract at the end of the season and became free agents. Among those, leading goal scorer the past two years, Russ Cicerone, signed with Sacramento.

The club continues to have ongoing negotiations with players who were part of the 2022 team and free agents from outside the club, and additional new signings are expected to be announced in the near future.

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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