An Ode to Dave Brandt: Thanks for making soccer fun again
November 18, 2017 | By Rachael McKriger
I was glad to see I wasn’t the only one surprised when the Pittsburgh Riverhounds announced the hire of Bob Lilley, and the mutual parting between them and Dave Brandt.
It honestly made me upset. I grew to really like Coach Brandt, not just as a head coach, but as a person. He didn’t have the most successful run with the Riverhounds, but he sure put in a lot of work to make the club better.
And they were better this season.
The Riverhounds made a legitimate playoff push this year, something that would have been impossible if you were still stuck in the 2016 season.
Brandt leaves the Riverhounds in good hands, and with a lot of good players.
There hasn’t been any comment on players coming back, which is expected. Fans probably won’t hear about that until December, or they might have to wait until the early months of 2018.
Either way, welcome to Pittsburgh, Bob Lilley.
Lilley’s hiring is certainly a positive for the Riverhounds. It truly is a sign of going in the right direction – not just as a club, but even as a league. Who would have ever thought the United Soccer League would “dethrone” the North American Soccer League as the Division II league in the United States?
That’s the reality now for fans, players, coaches and the journalists that cover these clubs. Trust me when I say that’s definitely more exciting to say I cover Division II soccer now instead of Division III.
Back to Lilley, his head coach position with the Riverhounds couldn’t have come at a better time. Brandt left the Riverhounds in really good shape; he taught the players many things, but two certainly stuck out: how to win and how to produce wins as a unit.
Yes, Corey Hertzog led the team in goals once again, and the team played more goalkeepers than I could keep track of, but for a long stretch, Brandt kept the same 10 field-players consistent.
Bring in Lilley, who is all about consistency. He’s a winner, too, which certainly helps. His rap sheet with the Rochester Rhinos is a huge advantage, and the man knows tactics.
Also, it wouldn’t hurt for him to try to convince Christian Pulisic’s father, Mark, to join his coaching staff.
However, let’s give Brandt some credit here. If the Riverhounds are to have an immense amount of success next season, and potentially star in the playoffs, it’s mainly due to Brandt.
At a time where the people of Pittsburgh were ready to give up on the Riverhounds, Brandt made soccer exciting again for the players and the fans.
Now, we all just need to be patient and see what Lilley does with the roster.