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Pulse of Pittsburgh Soccer (9/26/2023): Hounds poised to crush single-season attendance record, as per game average now exceeds 5K

Photo courtesy Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC

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

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.

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  We look forward to sharing more content previewing this match this week.

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:

WPIAL Boys Soccer Standings (9/24/2023)

WPIAL Girls Soccer Standings (9/24/2023)

Former Penn-Trafford standout Malia Kearns earns Horizon League Player of the Week honors for Robert Morris 

Women’s College Wrap-Around: Pitt draw No. 10 Notre Dame, Malia Kearns breaks Robert Morris record for goals in match and Duquesne remains unbeaten in A10

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

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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Glory on the Grass

Riverhounds MF Kenardo Forbes

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