After one season as an independent, the Pittsburgh Riverhounds have signed an affiliation agreement with the Columbus Crew of Major League Soccer for the 2016 season. The Crew, one of the founding members of the league, were the 2015 MLS Eastern Conference champions and lost by just one goal in the MLS Final against Portland earlier this month.
“Our coaching staff is thrilled to be affiliated with one of the best organizations in MLS,” Riverhounds head coach Mark Steffens said in a press release. “Crew SC sporting director and head coach Gregg Berhalter’s style and philosophy are similar to ours, so I believe our partnership will be very fruitful on a number of fronts.”
The Crew were previously affiliated with the Austin Aztex, who played the United Soccer League, the same league as the Riverhounds. The Aztex will not be fielding a team in 2016. The Riverhounds last affiliated with the MLS’s Houston Dynamo in 2014.
“We look forward to beginning a USL affiliation with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds as we continue to strengthen our player development efforts,” Berhalter said. “Pittsburgh’s philosophies and values on and off the field, from ownership to the coaching staff, are like-minded and exactly what we are looking for in a partnership.