It will be a big night in the ‘Burgh on Saturday as the Hounds host a playoff game for the first time in their stadium’s history.
1,120. That is how many days it will have been since the Pittsburgh Riverhounds were in the playoffs. For those that don’t want to do the math, it has been 3 years and 24 days. That’s a LONG time to wait for anything, especially if you’re a die hard fan of a team that relatively no one knows outside of the soccer community. There are many reasons that people in Pittsburgh don’t know there is even a team in their city. While we won’t get into all of them, we will get into one of the larger ones: Winning. If there is anything that Yinzers (the affectionate term of a person from Pittsburgh) crave more then IC Light, Primati Brother sandwiches, and Isaly’s chipped chopped ham, it is winning teams who are perennially in the playoffs and bring home a championship more often then not. (Ask anyone on the South Side or the Strip District and they’ll tell you that Pittsburgh is the “City of Champyinz”)
Unfortunately, the Riverhounds have had to compete with the the likes of the Penguins, Steelers, and even the Pirates, and mostly lost when it came to getting any type of attention. Then, 2018 happened. Whether it was the re-branding, the new kits, LilleyBall, or the perfect combination of all three, you could feel an energizing buzz from the start of preseason and if you listened closely, you could hear that “New Era Unleashed” was more of a battle cry than a slogan. As the season ended last Sunday with the Riverhounds sitting in 3rd place in the Eastern Conference, it meant they’d make their first playoff appearance in just over three years. Saturday’s playoff game isn’t just a playoff game. It is the FIRST home playoff game at Highmark Stadium and is also the 100th game played there (what a way to ring in a milestone).
Hype: ENGAGED. pic.twitter.com/n7ynZeYy5X
— Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC (@RiverhoundsSC) October 18, 2018
Somewhere in the middle of celebrating a great season, playoff berth, and getting ready for the first home playoff game in their stadium’s history, the staff realized that this was THE chance to get the attention that the other teams get and have all of Pittsburgh come and “Fill the ‘Mark”. But how do you get that attention? Thankfully, Pittsburghers rally around each other like one big family and it’s not exclusive to the people… the teams do it, too. In fact, it started off with a simple tweet from the Twitter account of Heinz Field, then the Riverhounds tweeted out a picture of Phil Bourque (Former player and current radio analyst for the Pens) with a personalized playoff jersey. The next day, a large group of Riverhounds were present at the Penguins game, and in the 2nd period intermission, the Penguins gave them a shout out and let Hugh Roberts talk about the playoff game. The NHL powerhouse tweeted out best wishes as well. If that wasn’t enough to draw fans, the Riverhounds announced a ticket option that includes a tailgate with Moe’s catering and a separate tailgate hosted by the Riverhounds’ owner, which is open to everyone.
There is no telling how the game will turn out on Saturday. Hopefully, the Riverhounds get the victory and extend their playoff run. However, if you’re reading this and are in the Pittsburgh area, make sure you get your ticket and join me and about 4,999 of my closest friends (some I’ve known all season, some brand new) in celebrating Highmark Stadium’s 100th game and the Riverhounds’ first playoff game of 2018. Don’t worry about bringing anything, we have you covered for tailgating. We’ll even give you a gold shirt and a rally towel. There is only one thing that Riverhound’s defender Tobi Adewole asks for, and it’s for the crowd and atmosphere to “Be lit”. I have a feeling it will be.