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Houston Dynamo partner with Pittsburgh Riverhounds

Tuesday morning, the Houston Dynamo became the fifth MLS club to announce a partnership with an USL Pro side Pittsburgh Riverhounds. Read on to find out some more of the specifics of the deal.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Last year, MLS announced the beginning of an affiliation program. This merged the existing MLS Reserve League schedule with the USL Pro League, and allowed for MLS clubs to enter into partnerships with USL Pro clubs, mainly to help with the training and playing time of younger players.

Tuesday morning, Houston Dynamo general manager Chris Canetti was part of a press conference announcing the Dynamo's partnership with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds. Canetti, Riverhounds CEO Jason Kutney, and coach Justin Evans were present, and they all outlined parts of the deal:

  • The Houston Dynamo will loan four to six players to the Riverhounds. These players will be able to return to the Dynamo at any time.
  • The Riverhounds will travel to Houston to train at the Dynamo's facilities in the Houston Amateur Sports Park sometime this winter - an opportunity that coach Evans called "an incredible opportunity.
  • The clubs are currently working out a friendly that would be played during the two week break in the MLS schedule in mid-June.
Though this is currently only a one year deal, I get the feeling that if it goes well, both clubs would be glad to extend it. As the Dynamo are only the fifth MLS club to affiliate under the new structure, there are probably still some kinks to be worked out in the more mundane parts of the deal.

What is certain is that this affiliation marks the end of the Houston Dynamo reserve team, as the Riverhounds will take over some of the duties of that side, with the bonus of added playing time. Still, questions remain, including training and playing time for veterans trying to work their way back from injuries. Canetti said this deal gives younger players the "best environment to grow and develop," and in that vein, it is a great move. We'll have to see how some of the other issues are worked out.

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A little about the Riverhounds:

  • Formed: 1999
  • Colors: Blue and yellow
  • Stadium: Highmark Stadium
    • Capacity: 3500
    • One of three soccer-specific stadiums in USL Pro.
  • Supporters Groups: Steel Army (they even have their own blog, check it out here)
  • Former Dynamo players on roster: Anthony Obodai and Joseph Ngwenya