The Pulse of Pittsburgh Soccer is back.
As done every week, this edition of the Pulse has the full, Pittsburgh Soccer schedule (see below).
Let’s start with the Riverhounds — as the club had a very good weekend, not only beating New Mexico United, 2-1, thanks to two corner kick goals before yet another sellout crowd of 5,610 fans, on a wet Saturday night, while Tampa Bay dropped all three points, while Charleston won to jump into second place. This leaves the Hounds (60 points) ahead of Charleston (56 points) by four, and Tampa Bay (54 points) by six, with three weeks remaining. I broke down the remaining schedule in Saturday’s post match Takeaways, pointing out that Pittsburgh is in the driver’s seat to clinch first place in the East and the USL Players Shield (best overall record in League) with three matches remaining. Look for more on the playoff race and updates from Hounds at training to come later this week on PSN.
The Hounds are not only having a great season on the field, but the stands have been filled to capacity in almost every home match with a few exceptions early in the year.
It’s been a record-breaking season at the gate for the club.
According to Soccer Stadium Digest, the Hounds (with figures through the first 14 home matches) are now averaging 5,004 fans per game, posting sellouts in 12 of the 16 matches. With the last two matches also announced as sellouts, and one more home game remaining, the average attendance tally for the regular season for the 17-game league match schedule will clearly finish over 5,000 fans. Of course, that doesn’t include the two Open Cup matches also played at Highmark Stadium, where they hosted Columbus Crew (official announced attendance for that one was a stadium record, 6,107) and Maryland Bobcats.
These attendance figures not only are the best during the Highmark Stadium era, which began in 2013, but are the best in the club’s entire history spanning back to 1999. It was in their inaugural campaign, at Bethel Park Stadium, when the Hounds averaged 4,178 fans per game that has held as the club’s single-season record. In their first season at Highmark Stadium, they averaged 3,273 fans, and last year (3,934) things turned upward, but few would have imagined a significant jump to over 5,000 fans per game?
Additionally, the Hounds have been gaining strong following in viewership of matches on TV and streaming, as of the most recent reporting announced by Nielsen in August, the Riverhounds had the second-highest total viewership — combining the KDKA+ linear broadcast and ESPN+ streaming — of the 24 USL Championship clubs
Our fans continue to show up consistently crushing every expectation & projection literally re-writing the record books. Tonight is no exception as we're ready for another top 3 crowd in @highmarkstadium history. There's room on the bandwagon, let's go!!🙌 #HoundTahn ⚽️⚫️🟡 https://t.co/gtVX7EFXzk
— JeffGarner23 (@JeffGarner23) September 23, 2023
The good news for Pittsburgh soccer fans and for the team, is that they’re guaranteed to host at least one home playoff match, and if all goes well, they could host a bunch more postseason matches.
@RiverhoundsSC BOOM!👊 And the first round is coming to Pittsburgh 👊👊👊
— Tuffy Shallenberger (@Tuffy_Shall) September 24, 2023
It appears that this season’s record-breaking soccer party is far from being over at Highmark Stadium.
PSN Featured High School Game for a Special Cause
This week, we are excited to see the return of PSN’s Featured High School Game coverage, as North Catholic host Mars on Thursday (6:30 p.m.) — with Matt Popchock anchoring coverage, Ed Thompson on photos plus look for more to come ahead of Thursday as we look ahead to the match u. Not only will this be an important section rematch between another pair of neighboring rivals who are jockeying for position in Section 1, both right behind front-running Hampton but it will be an Awareness Game to help bring attention to Rise Again a non-profit organization formed and started by a North Catholic family (the Browns) in honor of their son Alex, to support individuals with spinal cord injuries and the professionals that work with them. Alex Brown suffered a spinal stroke at age 4. He is now a senior at North Catholic and friends with many of the soccer players. Alex plays sled hockey and participates in track and field as an adaptive athlete. He also does the broadcast announcing for the school athletic teams. He is an inspiration to so many of us. You can learn more about Alex’s story here https://ryanshazierfund.
5 days to go!! Cheer on the boys as they take on @MarsSoccer1 and help bring awareness to https://t.co/WTKABoyNNM in support of individuals with spinal cord injury or illness! @NCForeverTrue @NCTrojanArmy @pghsoccernow pic.twitter.com/eNp5u0UUGr
— NC Boys Soccer (@NCHSBoysSoccer) September 23, 2023
Also, don’t forget to check out the latest high school soccer standings and previews of this week’s matches, available exclusively to PSN subscribers:
Former Penn-Trafford standout Malia Kearns earns Horizon League Player of the Week honors for Robert Morris
Congrats to Robert Morris’ Malia Kearns, who scored four times in the Colonials 4-2 win vs Wright State on Sunday, and has earned Horizon League Offensive Player of the Week honors.
Also, to note, RMU Women’s match vs Carlow, slated to be played at Highmark Stadium, on Wednesday, has been cancelled. RMU’s men conclude their non-conference schedule on Tuesday afternoon, when they host St. Bonaventure, at North Athletic complex.
Then, the college DI calendar goes blank until Thursday, when Duquesne women, winners of two straight and still unbeaten in A10 (2-0-2), host UMass at Rooney Field.
Both Pitt men and women have some big match-ups at home this weekend too, as the men face North Carolina on Friday night and the women host Boston College on Saturday night, at Ambrose Urbanic Field, while RMU’s teams will keep our friend Jordan Smith (Assoc SID at RMU) busy as they’ll have a doubleheader at North Athletic Complex on Saturday.
After this past Sunday’s women’s triple-header, this Sunday things will go quiet on the calendar — so everyone in Pittsburgh can have a day of rest from the Beautiful Game.
PITTSBURGH SOCCER SCHEDULE (9/26/2023 – 10/3/2023)
|Tue Sept 26||
WPIAL Boys Section play
|RMU M||3:00 PM||H||St. Bonaventure||North Athletic Complex|
WPIAL Girls Section play
|Thurs Sept 28||Duq W||7:00 PM||H||UMass||Rooney Field|
WPIAL Boys Section play
|PSN Featured HS Match||6:30 p.m.||North Catholic vs Mars||JC Stone Field (North Park)|
|Fri Sept 29||Pitt M||7:00 PM||H||North Carolina||Ambrose Urbanic Field|
|Sep 30 (Sat)||RMU W||12 Noon||H||Detroit Mercy||North Athletic Complex|
|Duq M||6:00 PM||A||St. Joseph||Philadelphia, PA|
|RMU M||3:00 PM||H||Purdue (Ft. Wayne)||North Athletic Complex|
|HOUNDS||7:00 PM||H||Tulsa||Highmark Stadium|
|Pitt W||7:00 PM||H||Boston College||Highmark Stadium|
|WPIAL Non-Section (Boys & Girls)|
|Mon Oct 2||
WPIAL Girls Section Play
|Tues Oct 3||
WPIAL Boys Section play