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Pulse of Pittsburgh Soccer: Steel City FC men and women begin postseason (with update)

Photo courtesy Randy Warner

It’s the best of times and the worst of times in Pittsburgh soccer as we turn the page to a new week.

We don’t feel like it’s hyperbole when we say that we have Pittsburgh’s most comprehensive coverage of soccer teams in our region.  Just look no further than our coverage of the teams that are currently in season, who are experiencing the highs and lows of the beautiful game.

The Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC still can’t get over the hump, losing yet again in disappointing fashion to Monterey Bay FC, 1-0, at the start of their anticipated four-match homestand through July.  PSN had all the bases covered for Saturday’s match, as Griffin Floyd provided the match report from Highmark, including reaction from Bob Lilley and Robbie Mertz, and Ed Thompson delivered some outstanding shots of the action and festivities.

And for in-depth analysis, don’t forget to check out Takeaways & Player Grades from this match, pointing out that while a defensive blunder may have cost the Hounds a loss, that the real problem continues to be the team’s lack of goal scoring.

Looking ahead this week, we’ll have more Riverhounds coverage as they prepare to take on one of the hottest teams in the Western Conference, the Oakland  Roots.  Also look for a feature to come from Mark “Soccer Rabbi” Goodman, about the impressive run the Hounds have had with their attendance numbers this season, despite their poor record.

On the flip side….  What a terrific regular season it’s been for Steel City FC’s men’s and women’s teams, as they each finished with unbeaten records in their respective leagues.

Now, they’re both gearing up after playing this weekend with little turnaround.  The men will be playing at the friendly confines of Founders Field on Wednesday and if they win, on Saturday.  Founders has become a fortress for the club’s first teams, competing in the National Premier Soccer League and United Women’s Soccer League.

The women’s schedule is a bit more uncertain.

UPDATE – 7/9/2024 – Steel City’s women team, who completed a 5w-0L-3d regular season mark following Sunday’s draw vs nemesis FC Buffalo, were supposed to begin the postseason Tuesday by hosting Back Mountain Torrent, a club from Northeast PA in the UWS East Conference quarterfinal.  However, that match will not take place, as Back Mountain will not travel to Pittsburgh area, due to some league communication and roster issues.  Our sources with Steel City FC have been informed that they now have a bye, and will advance to the Conference Semifinal Round, which will likely take place on Friday, against an opponent to be determined from another quarterfinal match at a location to be determined.   

The men finished the NPSL regular season at the top of the Great Lakes Conference standings (7-0-3, 24 points) tied with Akron City FC — but taking the tiebreaker thanks to beating ACFC in May, 2-1.  The defending conference tournament champs will now have home field advantage through the finals. They have their work cut out for them though, as Flower City Union will provide a big challenge.

Steel City men’s Head Coach Dan Brower told Pittsburgh Soccer Now over the weekend the he knows that this is a much improved Flower City Union side from the one that his squad handled a few times early in season (winning 3-0 in Rochester on May 11 and 5-0 at Founders Field a week later).

“We have much more to do and will be tested mid-week for sure (vs Flower City Union). They’ve picked up points in six of their last eight matches and just had a huge win against Cleveland SC (Saturday night) to put them into the playoffs,” Brower stated.

“They are a much different and more confident group than the one we faced at the beginning of the year and will prove to be a very difficult test. I ask that our club’s members show up in full force on Wednesday to support our boys!”

PITTSBURGH SOCCER SCHEDULE (7/9 – 7/14)

Wednesday, July 10 

6:30 p.m. — NPSL Great Lakes Conference Semifinal: Steel City FC vs Flower City Union (Founders Field, Indianola)

Friday, July 12

TBA — UWS East Conference Semifinal: Steel City FC vs TBA

Saturday, July 13

6:30 p.m. **If Steel City advances ** NPSL Great Lakes Conference Final (Founders Field)

7 p.m.  Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC vs Oakland Roots SC (Highmark Stadium)

TBA

If Steel City advances – UWS East Conference Final

 

 

 

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

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Riverhounds MF Kenardo Forbes

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