Can the Steel City Be A Fútbol Town, Too?
With their new stadium in Station Square, the Pittsburgh River Hounds are hoping that professional soccer will finally score in the “City of Champions.” The club, founded in 1999, is a part of the USL Pro League and has not had a successful history in Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh Post Gazette Sports Writer Emeritus Bob Dvorchak explains that soccer has been unable to share in the popularity of the city’s other professional sports because it is the least established. Despite high numbers at Steelers, Penguins and Pirates games, Pittsburgh may not be big enough to sustain a fourth professional sport.
“Pittsburgh can support three franchises, but supporting a soccer team has been something that it’s always struggled with,” says Dvorchak.
Many in the city hope that Pittsburgh can offer an enticing bid to host a World Cup qualifying match like neighboring Columbus, Ohio. Such large events boost interest in local sports, as illustrated in last year’s “Frozen Four” College National Hockey Championship.
Regarding the future of the indoor arena football league, the Pittsburgh Power, Dvorchak explains that low numbers could mean the end of the league.
“This is a city that embraces winners. If you don’t win, you don’t get much of a following.”