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Pulse of Pittsburgh Soccer: Riverhounds playoff fever ramps up, ‘City Game’ renewal, Pitt women face No. 1 FSU, plus WPIAL playoff brackets will be announced Wednesday

Photo courtesy Zac Weiss

Wow, what a week on tap.

Lets start with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, who are heading into the USL Championship playoffs as the top overall seed in the league’s upcoming postseason tournament, and on Saturday night will host Detroit City FC, who they played to a scoreless draw last Saturday in Hamtramck, MI, in a match that meant everything to the hosts.

It was great to have longtime PSN contributor and one-time Riverhounds’ play-by-play man, Matt Gajtka, make the short trip to cover the match on Saturday.

Not only did Matt provide the match report, but also penned this short feature on Robbie Mertz, which was posted yesterday.

Regardless of Role, Mertz Committed to Helping ‘Special’ Hounds Team

If you haven’t already scooped up your tickets for Saturday, you may want to move quickly, as seats are going very fast.

Typically, this is not a space to get on the bandwagon of team’s promotions, but clearly, another sign that things are at a fever pitch level for the Riverhounds — the club revealed a new “HUNT AS ONE” video, highlighted by shots of Riverhounds players in and around the Downtown Pittsburgh area culminating with a spectacular aerial shot of Highmark Stadium.

If you love soccer and you are from Pittsburgh — you can’t help but really appreciate and get pumped up by this excellent video.

Look for more to come this week on the Hounds our Pittsburgh Soccer Now crew is on the Hunt for great Content, as Matthew Baldwin will once again visit training, will  have more interviews, look for match preview and more on Sounding Off on Soccer podcast in the coming days.

City Game on Tap 

Pitt and Duquesne’s men’s soccer teams have experienced a few hiccips this season, but still both are also in the hunt for postseason success this season, as they still have plenty of work to do as they hit the homestretch of their conference schedules.

On Tuesday night, they’ll step away from the rigors of conference play, to face each other in the annual ‘City Game’ showdown at Ambrose Urbanic Field.

The Panthers, heading into last week, were ranked 11th in United Soccer Coaches poll, and were knocking on the door of Notre Dame for top spot in the ACC Coastal Division, but then were dealt a tough loss, on the road at Virginia, 2-1.  The Panthers have work to do to improve its record and be ready for another deep run in the NCAA tournament.

Meanwhile, the Dukes ended a three-game losing streak by defeating George Washington, 3-2, at Rooney Field on Saturday.  The Dukes (6-5-2, 3-2-1 in A10) are in the thick of things in conference play, but need to finish strong in its final three conference matches to get into the A10 postseason tournament,

Robert Morris at No. 4 Wake Forest!?

Lots of credit to Robert Morris’ men’s soccer program, as they don’t hide from anyone, as they’ll be heading down to Tobacco Road, to face No. 4 Wake Forest on Tuesday night in a non-conference match-up.

It’s been a positive season thus far for first-year Head Coach Jonathan Potter and the Colonials, as they’ve posted a 4-3-5 overall record, and 2-2-2 in the Horizon League. On Saturday, they settled for a 1-1 draw on the road, at Green Bay.

Colonials have only played one game against the Demon Deacons, happening 30 years ago when the program was in its exciting infancy under the direction of John Kowalski. RMU was victorious in that match-up, winning 1-0 at Wake Forest on October 31 of 1993. Against current members of the ACC, RMU has picked up nine wins all-time, dating back to 1991.

High Scoring Pitt Women to Face No. 1 Florida State

Pitt women’s soccer team has been on an impressive run of play, winning again on Saturday afternoon at Syracuse, in impressive fashion, routing the Orange, 6-0.

In the midst of a four-game winning streak, the Panthers have outscored its ACC opposition, 14-2.  The trio of former WPIAL stars, Sarah Schupansky (North Allegheny), Ellie Coffield (Mars) and Landy Mertz (Upper St Clair) have all be instrumental figures, producing goals and assists in the Panthers attack.

Think about that for a second.  That’s not against non-conference opponents early in the season.  That’s against the ACC, the best conference in the country in Women’s soccer.

With a 12-2-1 overall record, and a 5-1-1 mark in ACC play, the Panthers now have their biggest test of the season, in Tallahassee on Thursday, when they’ll face conference leading, No. 1 Florida State.

In fact, the Panthers are now sitting three points behind FSU, which means if they can pull out a win, they could move into a first place tie.

Any kind of result in Tallahassee, and the Panthers can really make a statement, and get the attention of the NCAA tournament seeding committee too.

WPIAL Releases Playoff Brackets on Wednesday

The sprint of the High School soccer regular season is coming to a screeching halt, but that means it’s nearly time for the postseason!

Pittsburgh Soccer Now will once again be going all in on the WPIAL Soccer playoffs coverage, as WPIAL has informed us that the brackets will be released by the Soccer Committee sometime shortly after Noon on Wednesday.

Following the release of the soccer brackets, we will share the brackets, but also look for more content including interviews with coaches and reaction from Matt Popchock and I on Pittsburgh Soccer Now’s YouTube Channel and on the Kids on the Pitch podcast.

PITTSBURGH SOCCER SCHEDULE (10/17/2023 – 10/23/2023)

Tues Oct 17 Duq M 7:00 PM A PITT Ambrose Urbanic Field
Pitt M 7:00 PM A Duquesne Ambrose Urbanic Field
WPIAL Boys & Girls Section / Non-Section play
RMU M 7:00 PM A Wake Forest Winston-Salem, NC
Wed Oct 18
Thur Oct 19 Pitt W 7:00 PM A Florida St Tallahassee, FL
Duq W 8:00 PM A St. Louis St.. Louis MO
Oct 21 (Sat) RMU M Noon H Oakland North Athletic Complex
RMU W 3:00 PM H IUPUI North Athletic Complex
Pitt M 7:00 PM H Duke Ambrose Urbanic Field
Duq M 7:00 PM A Fordham Bronx, NY
HOUNDS / USLC 1st Rd Playoff 7:00 PM H/A Detroit City FC Highmark Stadium
Sun Oct 22 Pitt W 2:00 PM A Clemson Clemson, SC
Duq W 1:00 PM H Richmond Rooney Field
Mon Oct 23
Tues Oct 24

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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