As part of the inaugural season at Highmark Stadium in 2013, the Pittsburgh Riverhounds went out of their way to set up a match with a European club that would be coming to the United States that summer for preseason friendlies.
On July 19, 2013, the Riverhounds hosted the reigning F.A. Cup Champions, English side Wigan Athletic FC in an international friendly, losing 4-1 before a sellout crowd at Highmark Stadium.
After a lightning delay pushed the start of the match back about 15 minutes, Jose Angulo didn’t waste any time striking first.
The Riverhounds leading scorer, and eventual USL Pro Golden Boot winner made a nice individual run on the left side and drilled a shot past Wigan goalkeeper Nicholls Lee in the 2nd minute.
“I got past a few guys, things opened up and I got it off,” said Angulo.
Wigan manager Owen Coyle knew his team may have been a little complacent but was impressed by Angulo, who would go on to win USL PRO MVP, and the Riverhounds.
“It was a great play and an unstoppable shot. They really came out, played well from the start,” said Coyle, who would later come back to the States to coach Houston Dynamo.
“The place went crazy. That’s why we came here. We needed a good experience and there’s some talented players here.”
On the other sideline, Riverhounds coach Justin Evans chuckled.
“I wish we had another lightning delay after that.”
Wigan stormed back to score four unanswered goals for the final line of 4-1. The fans (and teams) were treated to a full Zambelli fireworks show afterwards.
The Hounds have not played match against an international side since that memorable evening.