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The Pittsburgher Thread: The Long and Boring Wait

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Old
01-14-2014, 10:41 AM
  #51
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https://twitter.com/JasonLaCanfora/s...23321135874048

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Jason La Canfora ‏@JasonLaCanfora

Titans Coach Ken Whisenhunt would like to land John McNulty (Bucs) and Keith Butler (PIT) as his coordinators, but could be blocked on both
It's hard to imagine Keith Butler not getting impatient about wanting to become a defensive coordinator.

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01-14-2014, 11:33 AM
  #52
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I've dismissed the Western Conference but I think I might be being a bit hasty and should wait and look at the schedule to see what games I could watch.

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I agree that at first glance 18,000 in the location they built the stadium at seems outlandish. When I heard that they wanted to be able to expand to that number I laughed and thought it was a pipe dream. But if you take a creative approach to it, I can see some ways to get there.

The main bleachers are up against West Carson St and Mt Washington and can easily extend the grandstand there over W Carson and built into the slope of Mt Washington. The corners aren't utilized at all, so there's some more seats. The supporter's section on the east side of the stadium has a lot of room to expand upwards. The west side with the luxury boxes (which are quite nice, was able to watch the Riverhounds play Wigan in one of them last year) can add seats from the field sloping up to the boxes and then add a grandstand on top of the boxes.

Granted, I'm not an engineer (though I work with enough that I think I learned some of their trade) so I have no idea how feasible these options are. It would also think that the stadium would look awesome, expanded out in those ways, from the river but might feel cramped from the land. Parking could also be a small issue, but a 4-5 level parking garage near the Duquesne Incline could solve a good bit of that without taking all of Station Square's parking. And maybe I'm thinking crazy now, but maybe some kind of floating parking lot on the river (I have no idea if that's possible, just thinking outside the box). Traffic getting in and out would not be smooth, but not terrible.

I'm sure in a couple year we'll see what they're going to do. They are pouring good money into making the team pretty good and seem serious about making a legit MLS bid in the future. I just hope the fan support is there and the MLS sees potential, as I think they have the management team and capital to make it happen.
Yeah, there is a long way and the stadium could be expanded to 18,000 but I think that would be in a best case scenario. I think realistically a stadium of 14,000 would be more realistic. The team needs to get to an Orlando level of attendance (8,000+) and support and they might then get into the MLS as the structure is there. A lot more people will go if it an MLS team compared to a UDLPro team so that attendance will likely increase by a good 25-30% for Orlando. I noticed recently they were granted a PDL license which is fantastic. Over the next 5 years they should look to develop the team and then see what the situation is then.

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01-14-2014, 11:43 AM
  #53
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I don't see room in Pittsburgh for a 4th pro team, especially in a sport that isn't very popular to begin with. The population isn't big enough for 4 pro teams and there just isn't enough interest in soccer here.

Let's not forget it took the Penguins almost 30 years to become relevant in this city.

I would expand MLS teams to the big time markets like Atlanta, Phoenix (does phoenix have a team? I have no idea), etc.

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01-14-2014, 11:49 AM
  #54
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Originally Posted by Ziggyjoe21 View Post
I don't see room in Pittsburgh for a 4th pro team, especially in a sport that isn't very popular to begin with. The population isn't big enough for 4 pro teams and there just isn't enough interest in soccer here.

Let's not forget it took the Penguins almost 30 years to become relevant in this city.

I would expand MLS teams to the big time markets like Atlanta, Phoenix (does phoenix have a team? I have no idea), etc.
One benefit that the MLS team would have is that the season runs from March-November normally so it's biggest rival would be the MLB. But if you could schedule games around that then I don't see why it wouldn't work. One thing that I think Pittsburgh has in its favour is that the team tend to help one another instead of rivalling which is the way it should be.

The MLS is likely to expand to Atlanta in the future. Phoenix have a team and they play in the USLPro.

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01-14-2014, 11:53 AM
  #55
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Originally Posted by Shrimper View Post
Yeah, there is a long way and the stadium could be expanded to 18,000 but I think that would be in a best case scenario. I think realistically a stadium of 14,000 would be more realistic. The team needs to get to an Orlando level of attendance (8,000+) and support and they might then get into the MLS as the structure is there. A lot more people will go if it an MLS team compared to a UDLPro team so that attendance will likely increase by a good 25-30% for Orlando. I noticed recently they were granted a PDL license which is fantastic. Over the next 5 years they should look to develop the team and then see what the situation is then.
I found an old article (from Dec 24th) last night, during my late night insomnia riddled web-browsing, written by Dejean...

http://triblive.com/sports/otherloca...#ixzz2obVZEWqY

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Jose Angulo, USL Pro's MVP last season after a league-leading 15 goals, was signed to an unusual, two-year, full-time contract that pays him a Major League Soccer wage. The aim is to make Angulo the face of the franchise, a role he says he'll embrace.
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Matt Dallman, whose 12 assists were a league record, was retained to a similar contract. Like Angulo, he chose the Riverhounds over offers from MLS teams.
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Joseph Ngwenya, one of the three finalists for the USL Pro award MVP after scoring nine goals for Richmond, was signed to shore up the midfield.
“It seems like they're trying to put together a championship team,” said Ngwenya, 32, a veteran of 118 MLS matches and international competition with Zimbabwe.
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Anthony Obodai, a veteran of four seasons with the legendary Dutch side Ajax as well as Ghana's national team, was signed to specialize in defense through the midfield. Obodai, 32, was with Phoenix of USL Pro last season.
It's not World Class players, but I think these are very positive steps for a 3rd tier franchise with MLS dreams.

Jason Kutney keeps talking about building the franchise in the step-by-step model of Orlando and building a solid fan base. They sure are talking the talk and dishing out the money to walk the walk. The arrow is defiantly pointing up.

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01-14-2014, 11:57 AM
  #56
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Originally Posted by Winger for Hire View Post
I found an old article (from Dec 24th) last night, during my late night insomnia riddled web-browsing, written by Dejean...

http://triblive.com/sports/otherloca...#ixzz2obVZEWqY









It's not World Class players, but I think these are very positive steps for a 3rd tier franchise with MLS dreams.

Jason Kutney keeps talking about building the franchise in the step-by-step model of Orlando and building a solid fan base. They sure are talking the talk and dishing out the money to walk the walk. The arrow is defiantly pointing up.
Wait, Riverhounds are 3rd tier? So they're like the ECHL?
Well that just makes it that much less appealing.

Their games aren't on TV as far as I know. The team isn't advertised anywhere. Soccer isn't a popular sport to begin with. I don't see how the Riverhounds will/can grow here.


1) Put the games on Root Sports. This channel shows IUP hoops, surely they can show a local semi pro soccer team.
2) Advertise the team. I bet at least half the population of Allegheny County has no idea that there's a soccer team here, or have ever heard of the Riverhounds. Put ads on TV, advertise with the Pens, Bucs. Make the team known.
3) Sponsor a game vs a big time team from EPL. They played a game vs Wigan, who was recently relegated from the EPL. It was a terrible game but it's at least a somewhat famous team. Bring in a Chelsea or Manchester U/City here for a friendly or something.

Otherwise the Riverhounds have almost no chance of succeeding here, IMO.


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01-14-2014, 11:58 AM
  #57
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Those signs are promising. 10 year plan is plausible. Would expect that nothing would happen until 2016 at the earliest but that's too soon. 2 years to turn a team round like that? Nah, not happening. 2020 at the earliest I think. The signs are good.

I want their season to start tomorrow now!

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01-14-2014, 12:05 PM
  #58
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Originally Posted by Ziggyjoe21 View Post
I don't see room in Pittsburgh for a 4th pro team, especially in a sport that isn't very popular to begin with. The population isn't big enough for 4 pro teams and there just isn't enough interest in soccer here.

Let's not forget it took the Penguins almost 30 years to become relevant in this city.

I would expand MLS teams to the big time markets like Atlanta, Phoenix (does phoenix have a team? I have no idea), etc.
I think you're a bit off in saying there's not enough interest in soccer in Pittsburgh. I'm not suggesting that we're going to rival the Sounders' or Timbers' fan bases, but I think there's enough interest to be optimistic.

Judging by the World Cup viewing parties I've attended and the people getting exposed to, and enjoying, NBC's EPL coverage there's a good base. I think the early history of the Riverhounds should be forgotten about and thrown out. They were playing at seemingly random high school fields, fielding teams with players who, frankly, were embarrassing and seen as a novelty and didn't have a direction other than try to stay afloat for another week.

Now there's an actual serious ownership who are serious about growing the team. They know it's a step-by-step process. They not expecting people to come just because they have a team.

While I'm not saying the market here will be a golden egg, but I see enough to be confident enough to expect (with the right marketing, team building, etc) to expect an Orlando type rise, if things break right.

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01-14-2014, 12:05 PM
  #59
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Originally Posted by Ziggyjoe21 View Post
Wait, Riverhounds are 3rd tier? So they're like the ECHL?
Well that just makes it that much less appealing.

Their games aren't on TV as far as I know. The team isn't advertised anywhere. Soccer isn't a popular sport to begin with. I don't see how the Riverhounds will/can grow here.
helps to have a beautiful stadium in a downtown location, rising adult interest in soccer, and a large pool of youth players as potential attendees.

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01-14-2014, 12:05 PM
  #60
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Originally Posted by Ziggyjoe21 View Post
Wait, Riverhounds are 3rd tier? So they're like the ECHL?
Well that just makes it that much less appealing.

Their games aren't on TV as far as I know. The team isn't advertised anywhere. Soccer isn't a popular sport to begin with. I don't see how the Riverhounds will/can grow here.
Correct. It goes MLS > NACL > USL Pro.

The biggest problem is that it isn't advertised enough but the games are available to watch on USL Pro.com I believe during the season. After being moved from pillar to post around Western Pennsylvania through umpteen different stadiums it would've been hard for any fan to follow them which probably affected their following but now they're in a permanent home in the outskirts of the Downtown/center of the city. Give it a few years and it'll grow.

Personally, the grant of a PDL franchise is one of the best things for the team as it gives them greater attractiveness with youth players and they can develop players better. Only the Daytona Dutch Lions have a PDL franchise in the league before this.

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01-14-2014, 12:07 PM
  #61
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and there are definitely templates to follow in cultivating a groundswell of grassroots support for a team

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01-14-2014, 12:12 PM
  #62
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Originally Posted by Ziggyjoe21 View Post
Wait, Riverhounds are 3rd tier? So they're like the ECHL?
Well that just makes it that much less appealing.

Their games aren't on TV as far as I know. The team isn't advertised anywhere. Soccer isn't a popular sport to begin with. I don't see how the Riverhounds will/can grow here.


1) Put the games on Root Sports. This channel shows IUP hoops, surely they can show a local semi pro soccer team.
2) Advertise the team. I bet at least half the population of Allegheny County has no idea that there's a soccer team here, or have ever heard of the Riverhounds. Put ads on TV, advertise with the Pens, Bucs. Make the team known.
3) Sponsor a game vs a big time team from EPL. They played a game vs Wigan, who was recently relegated from the EPL. It was a terrible game but it's at least a somewhat famous team. Bring in a Chelsea or Manchester U/City here for a friendly or something.

Otherwise the Riverhounds have almost no chance of succeeding here, IMO.
The Wigan game was awesome, I'm not sure why you think it was terrible. The place went nuts when the Hounds opened the scoring. Of course they were going to be outmatched, but the atmosphere was amazing and the soccer wasn't too bad on the eyes.

I think you'll be seeing a lot of Wigans, Boltons, Wolverhamptons before you see some EPL sides come. If an EPL team did manage to come, it would have to be after at least 1 round of seating expansion... or using Heniz Field (which would NEVER happen).

Also, Wigan were the current FA Cup holders at the time of their game. They had the FA Cup at the practices and the game, so that was a cherry on top.

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01-14-2014, 12:14 PM
  #63
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I think you're a bit off in saying there's not enough interest in soccer in Pittsburgh. I'm not suggesting that we're going to rival the Sounders' or Timbers' fan bases, but I think there's enough interest to be optimistic.

Judging by the World Cup viewing parties I've attended and the people getting exposed to, and enjoying, NBC's EPL coverage there's a good base. I think the early history of the Riverhounds should be forgotten about and thrown out. They were playing at seemingly random high school fields, fielding teams with players who, frankly, were embarrassing and seen as a novelty and didn't have a direction other than try to stay afloat for another week.

Now there's an actual serious ownership who are serious about growing the team. They know it's a step-by-step process. They not expecting people to come just because they have a team.

While I'm not saying the market here will be a golden egg, but I see enough to be confident enough to expect (with the right marketing, team building, etc) to expect an Orlando type rise, if things break right.
I've lived in Pittsburgh for the past 19 years. My family is from Europe and my dad loves soccer as much as I love hockey. If not for this site I would never know there is a soccer team in Pittsburgh. Nor would I know that the new Stadium next to Station Square is for soccer.

They're not doing anything to advertise the game or the team in this area. Like I said, I'm willing to make a blind guess that half of the population in Allegheny County (2 million or so?) have never heard of the Riverhounds.

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01-14-2014, 12:15 PM
  #64
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I love how dialed into Pittsburgh sports Shrimp has become. That's awesome.


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01-14-2014, 12:19 PM
  #65
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The Wigan game was awesome, I'm not sure why you think it was terrible. The place went nuts when the Hounds opened the scoring. Of course they were going to be outmatched, but the atmosphere was amazing and the soccer wasn't too bad on the eyes.

I think you'll be seeing a lot of Wigans, Boltons, Wolverhamptons before you see some EPL sides come. If an EPL team did manage to come, it would have to be after at least 1 round of seating expansion... or using Heniz Field (which would NEVER happen).

Also, Wigan were the current FA Cup holders at the time of their game. They had the FA Cup at the practices and the game, so that was a cherry on top.
I thought the game was bad because Riverhounds were very outmatched. I believe they managed 1? shot on goal. Of course, I'm far from a soccer expert as I watch maybe 1-2 soccer matches per year (EPL, Champions League, World Cup) so perhaps my soccer standards are too high.

The atmosphere was very quiet and dull (tho that could be due to rain) besides the 10-20 fans at one end who kept on cheering and yelling literally all game long. I assume this is the soccer version of crazy die hard fans. They wore scarfs.

I believe I read somewhere that a team from EPL and a team from Italy came to Heinz field around 2003? for a friendly. Something like that is what brings soccer hype to a city.

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01-14-2014, 12:23 PM
  #66
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I've lived in Pittsburgh for the past 19 years. My family is from Europe and my dad loves soccer as much as I love hockey. If not for this site I would never know there is a soccer team in Pittsburgh. Nor would I know that the new Stadium next to Station Square is for soccer.

They're not doing anything to advertise the game or the team in this area. Like I said, I'm willing to make a blind guess that half of the population in Allegheny County (2 million or so?) have never heard of the Riverhounds.
It's been 2 years (I believe) with the new ownership... give it some time. They have already got a new stadium built and have put together a roster that is going to be a favorite, maybe the favorite, to win the league this year.

This is a long term thing. I can understand why in your 19 years in Pittsburgh you never heard of the Riverhounds, they were terribly run. They probably barely knew they existed. It's a new Riverhounds, and now you know they exist, so join us in helping grow it.

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01-14-2014, 12:31 PM
  #67
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The stadium definitely needs expanding before you can even think of getting a larger team there. I'd love to see Heinz Field used for a game against one of the Manchesters, but no MLS team could put up a fight against a team like that, you're more likely to see EPL exhibitions played there. Wasn't there a game or two there fairly recently?

Wigan was a pretty big get for the Riverhounds, winners of the FA Cup and just coming off an EPL season. Yeah, they got relegated, but they'd spent 9 consecutive years in the EPL...and they did have to beat Manchester City to win that FA Cup. Any team that can beat Manchester City is going to steamroll a team like the Riverhounds...it was just a great coup to get a team with a real profile to play in the new stadium. There was absolutely a spike in coverage of the Hounds after that game, though that was mostly on the Trib's website and Twitter...not local TV.

Pittsburgh does have to go the Orlando route and build from a grassroots level. The Riverhounds had great attendance at Bethel Park Stadium when they started out, but ownership changes and a constantly rotating home base (two seasons were played in a semi-pro baseball stadium in Washington) did everything they could to destroy any interest that those early Riverhounds teams had built. I legitimately forgot the Riverhounds even existed for a solid 5 years (they did take a year off in 2007). The move to a SSS so close to downtown is obviously huge, the next step is to push their visibility up in Pittsburgh. Once that happens they can go ahead with a stadium expansion or two, hopefully move back up to that second tier, and go from there.

One thing to remember here...Portland was averaging 5-6,000 people per game until it became known that the Timbers were moving up to the MLS, Seattle was averaging 2-4,000 before they moved up to the MLS. Nobody expects 18,000 attendance at this level. In Pittsburgh's first three seasons in the A-League they doubled up the Sounders in attendance. The new stadium is half a year old, this team is basically starting from scratch and this ownership and management seems to have a better idea of what they're doing than anyone since their original ownership group. It's hard to remember that in the Hounds' infancy they beat an MLS team and took a 1st place MLS team to overtime in the US Open Cup in 2001.

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01-14-2014, 12:35 PM
  #68
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Pittsburgh does have to go the Orlando route and build from a grassroots level. The Riverhounds had great attendance at Bethel Park Stadium when they started out, but ownership changes and a constantly rotating home base (two seasons were played in a semi-pro baseball stadium in Washington) did everything they could to destroy any interest that those early Riverhounds teams had built. I legitimately forgot the Riverhounds even existed for a solid 5 years (they did take a year off in 2007). The move to a SSS so close to downtown is obviously huge, the next step is to push their visibility up in Pittsburgh. Once that happens they can go ahead with a stadium expansion or two, hopefully move back up to that second tier, and go from there.
I somewhat remember the seasons played at the Wild Things' stadium... if I remember correctly, they didn't remove the pitcher's mound completely for games.

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01-14-2014, 12:52 PM
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I loved how dialed into Pittsburgh sports Shrimp has become. That's awesome.
I've already ruled out supporting Philadelphia purely because of where they based. I guess you could say I'm a Brinzer.

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01-14-2014, 12:56 PM
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I've already ruled out supporting Philadelphia purely because of where they based. I guess you could say I'm a Brinzer.
Do/Can you speak "Pittsburghese" with a British accent? I think that would sound awesome

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01-14-2014, 01:00 PM
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Do/Can you speak "Pittsburghese" with a British accent? I think that would sound awesome
I'm sadly not able to. Although I did shock the tour guide at CEC by knowing what Pittsburghese was.

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01-14-2014, 01:06 PM
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I speak far better Pittsburghese now than I ever did when I actually lived in Pittsburgh. It was such a mark of shame back then, now it's an identity I crave

Honestly when it comes to picking an MLS team I would just say watch as many games that you can and just see what you're drawn to naturally. That's how I gravitated to Spurs when I had absolutely no connection to anything even remotely English...well, aside from the language. Robbie Keane most certainly helped make the MLS transition to the Galaxy extremely easy for me.

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01-14-2014, 01:22 PM
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The stadium definitely needs expanding before you can even think of getting a larger team there. I'd love to see Heinz Field used for a game against one of the Manchesters, but no MLS team could put up a fight against a team like that, you're more likely to see EPL exhibitions played there. Wasn't there a game or two there fairly recently?

Wigan was a pretty big get for the Riverhounds, winners of the FA Cup and just coming off an EPL season. Yeah, they got relegated, but they'd spent 9 consecutive years in the EPL...and they did have to beat Manchester City to win that FA Cup. Any team that can beat Manchester City is going to steamroll a team like the Riverhounds...it was just a great coup to get a team with a real profile to play in the new stadium. There was absolutely a spike in coverage of the Hounds after that game, though that was mostly on the Trib's website and Twitter...not local TV.

Pittsburgh does have to go the Orlando route and build from a grassroots level. The Riverhounds had great attendance at Bethel Park Stadium when they started out, but ownership changes and a constantly rotating home base (two seasons were played in a semi-pro baseball stadium in Washington) did everything they could to destroy any interest that those early Riverhounds teams had built. I legitimately forgot the Riverhounds even existed for a solid 5 years (they did take a year off in 2007). The move to a SSS so close to downtown is obviously huge, the next step is to push their visibility up in Pittsburgh. Once that happens they can go ahead with a stadium expansion or two, hopefully move back up to that second tier, and go from there.

One thing to remember here...Portland was averaging 5-6,000 people per game until it became known that the Timbers were moving up to the MLS, Seattle was averaging 2-4,000 before they moved up to the MLS. Nobody expects 18,000 attendance at this level. In Pittsburgh's first three seasons in the A-League they doubled up the Sounders in attendance. The new stadium is half a year old, this team is basically starting from scratch and this ownership and management seems to have a better idea of what they're doing than anyone since their original ownership group. It's hard to remember that in the Hounds' infancy they beat an MLS team and took a 1st place MLS team to overtime in the US Open Cup in 2001.
Does this still exist?

Do MLS teams participate in any Euro tournaments like the Champions league?

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01-14-2014, 01:28 PM
  #74
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziggyjoe21 View Post
Does this still exist?

Do MLS teams participate in any Euro tournaments like the Champions league?
Yes and yes

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CONCACAF_Champions_League

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lamar_Hunt_US_Open_Cup

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01-14-2014, 01:31 PM
  #75
Big McLargehuge
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There is a CONCACAF league styled like the Champions League (creatively called the CONCACAF Champions League), but it's ass because the US and Mexico are the only leagues even remotely worth half a damn, and Mexico dominates it since no visiting teams basically ever win in Mexico. The US Open Cup is the best domestic Cup, similar to the FA Cup in England...that's actually been played since 1914 so it does have a fair bit of history...doesn't have the same prestige, obviously, but yeah. No one under the MLS has made it to the final since 1999, though, when the MLS was a fledgling league on the brink of going under (Rochester beat Colorado).

No matter how good the MLS gets it can never play in something as good as the Champions League because of the confederation we're stuck with. On the bright side, the ****tiness of CONCACAF basically guarantees a World Cup berth every 4 years...Mexico was trying their hardest to lose games and they still made it through.


There was the International Champions Cup this year, though. It was an exhibition tournament mostly played in NFL stadiums that featured top-flight European clubs and the defending MLS Champions (LA Galaxy, Real Madrid, Valencia, Chelsea, Everton, AC Milan, Internazionale, & Juventus). It'd be nice if Heinz Field hosted one of these going forward considering non-MLS cities like Indianapolis, Phoenix, and San Francisco held matches (as well as Miami being the primary host).


Last edited by Big McLargehuge: 01-14-2014 at 01:43 PM.
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