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Pulse of Pittsburgh Soccer: Landy Mertz, Amanda West and Filip Mirkovic sign pro deals plus potential first-ever March sellout for Hounds

What a great time to bring the Pulse of Pittsburgh soccer back as the calendar is starting to fill up again as we reach mid-March.   The complete schedule can be found at the bottom of this post, including Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, Steel City FC and local Division I college programs.

The Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC will host the 2024 home opener on Saturday at Highmark Stadium.  It’s hard to believe, but this will be the 12th home opener for the Hounds, and potentially the first one in March that could be played before a sellout crowd as it appears that only a few tickets remain.

If this keeps up throughout the 2024 season after record breaking attendance numbers last year , it will certainly provide the club with plenty of incentive to get started on stadium expansion plans, which were confirmed in Matthew Baldwin’s interview with Riverhounds’ president Jeff Garner as he acknowledged that it will be a challenge, but they’re looking at incrementally building out and increasing capacity.

“We’ve started to look at models and concepts and different ways that we could do some things,” Garner said.

“Whatever we end up doing will be in phases, we’ve really come to that conclusion, we don’t want to shut the stadium down for a year and go play somewhere else, I think we will do it in phases over the next three to five years.”

The Hounds are coming off a tough season opening result, losing 1-0, at New Mexico.  I took a deeper look at the Hounds’ performance in the first season edition of Takeaways/Player Grades.  It’s quite astonishing to see that the Hounds have not fared well (0-5-4) in any matches on the road against opponents in the Mountain and Western time zones since the start of the 2022 season when the league has used a fully integrated schedule.

Takeaways / Player Grades: Riverhounds western woes continue with season opening loss at New Mexico

Look for more from the team’s training to come Thursday, as PSN’s Matthew Baldwin will be checking in and providing a report ahead of the match.  In addition, Colton Coreschi has a closer look at the Hounds’ opponent on Saturday, Orange County SC, in a scouting report/match preview piece that will likely post on Friday morning.

In addition, some more relevant Pittsburgh soccer news this week, includes three former standout players at Pitt have signed professional contracts, Filip Mirkovic, Landy Mertz and Amanda West.

Mirkovic, 22, who was drafted by Orlando City FC in the MLS SuperDraft in December, has signed a deal with Charlotte FC’s MLSNextPro squad, Crown Legacy FC for the 2024 season.

Mirkovic appeared in 75 matches across four seasons at Pitt, netting nine goals and adding 28 assists within that time. The midfielder’s 28 assists makes him Pitt Men’s Soccer record holder for assists in a career. Mirkovic earned multiple accolades throughout his collegiate career, namely First Team All-ACC and First Team All-South Region in each of his final two seasons and All-ACC Freshman Team in 2020.

Meanwhile, both players from last year’s unprecedented Pitt women’s squad who were drafted by NWSL clubs in January, Amanda West and Landy Mertz, were officially signed to contracts and added to the rosters for their respective clubs, Houston Dash and North Carolina Courage.

Of course, we’re now getting closer to the start of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, with Pittsburgh’s NPSL club, Steel City FC, hosting a first-round match at Ambrose Urbanic Field, vs the Michigan Stars, on Thursday, March 21.  This is the first time a first round match has been hosted by a Pittsburgh-area club in a very long time.  Typically, the Riverhounds enter the tournament in the second or third round.

With a strong level of support from within its own club, plus gaining extra steam from other supporters of local soccer, the atmosphere at Ambrose Urbanic Field next Thursday could be unprecedented for a lower division club in our region.   Tickets are currently on sale through Steel City FC.

Look for extensive coverage of this US Open Cup match from PSN team — including match previews and on-site match report and photography.


Pittsburgh Soccer Schedule (March 16 – 24)

Saturday, March 16    Riverhounds SC vs Orange County SC     7 p.m.     Highmark Stadium

Thursday, March 21   US OPEN CUP FIRST ROUND — Steel City FC vs Michigan Stars   7 p.m.    Ambrose Urbanic Field

Friday, March 22        Robert Morris (women) vs Mercyhurst/Akron     Time/TBA     Erie, PA

Saturday, March 23    Robert Morris (men) at WVU   4 p.m.    Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium

                                       Riverhounds SC at Louisville City FC   4 p.m.     Lynn Family Stadium

                                        Pitt at Duke                                12:30 p.m.   Durham, NC

Sunday, March 24       Duquesne vs Point Park        1 p.m.   Highmark Stadium

                                       Robert Morris (women) vs Bucknell    Time/TBA       Montour Junction







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).

Glory on the Grass

Riverhounds MF Kenardo Forbes

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