The Pittsburgh Riverhounds have emerged as a surprise contender in the United Soccer League this season after subpar finishes in three of the past four years, and their success is due in part to the play of former Pitt goalkeeper Dan Lynd. The former Panther is responsible for seven of the team’s 10 clean sheets this season, and he leads the league in that statistical category.
While he’s been dependable when called upon, playing to a 76.7 percent success rate in goal, Lynd’s positive results can also be attributed to some extent to the Riverhounds defense. That’s because the Pittsburgh back line has only allowed opposing attackers to get off 30 shots during Lynd’s 12 games, 23 of which he has been able to save. That save total ranks 25th in the USL.
For comparison, Fabian Cerda of the Tulsa Roughnecks leads the league with 62 saves, but he’s faced a daunting total of 94 shots in 15 games, conceding a league-high 32 goals.
All in all, the Riverhounds are 7-1-7 this season and have lost fewer games than any other team in the USL. Their impressive play has boosted them up to second place in the Eastern Conference and tied them for fifth in the league, which is unheard of for the Riverhounds in recent years.
Considering the team has conceded just 11 goals, which is one of the lowest totals in the league, while its offense has been middling for much of the season, it seems its surprising turnaround can be largely credited to the play of its defense and, of course, Lynd.
The Riverhounds will take the field again on July 4, when a struggling North Carolina FC heads to Highmark Stadium in Pittsburgh for a 7 p.m. kickoff.