By Larry Snyder
Pittsburgh, Pa – In March, a pair of the Steel City’s professional sports teams announced an agreement for back-to-back home games the first weekend in June at Highmark Stadium. The Pittsburgh Thunderbirds of the American Ultimate Disc League face Midwest Division opponent, the Madison Radicals Friday, June 3 at 7:00 p.m. The Pittsburgh Riverhounds of the United Soccer League and primary tenant at Highmark square off against Eastern Conference rival Detroit City FC Saturday, June 4 at 7:00 p.m.
The 2022 partnership includes cross-promotion between the organizations, special team ticket discount offers, and a Thunderbirds intra-squad half-time exhibition Saturday, May 14, when the Hounds take on El Paso Locomotive FC at 7:00 p.m. The T-birds’ meeting with Madison originally was at JC Stone Field.
Fans of the Thunderbirds last saw the Black and Gold at Highmark Stadium in the July 2016 Midwest Division semi-final playoff contest against the Minnesota Wind Chill. Pittsburgh claimed a 20-18 victory as David Vatz scored five goals and Alex Thorne contributed five assists.
Andrew Gardner, general manager of the T-birds, commented on the team’s website, “Players and fans still talk about that experience, playing right alongside the river. The atmosphere that stadium provides unleashes an energy unlike no other, and we’re so excited to be able to return to Highmark Stadium for another game.”
Retired Thunderbird Aaron Watson, who was in his second season with the team, remembers the playoff match against the Wind Chill. He contributed 18 goals, 11 assists, and eight blocks over eight games in 2016. He told me, “It was great. Amazing view of the city. The crowd was electric because it was the first T-bird game there.” Aaron added, “Watching replays at the big screen while we were on the field was new. Never did that before.”
Thunderbirds live-stream announcer Matt Weiss talked on the web page about going back to the South Side, “That playoff game against Minnesota was the way it should be! I would love to call games in Highmark Stadium, and I think I would have an easier time getting some of my non-ultimate playing friends to come out if it were at that venue. It just makes a difference!”
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Thunderbirds Remaining 2022 Home Contests At JC Stone Field:
Saturday, May 21st – Versus Indianapolis AlleyCats at 6:00 p.m.
Saturday, June 18th – Versus Detroit Mechanix at 6:00 p.m.
Saturday, July 9th – Versus Detroit Mechanix at 6:00 p.m.
Saturday, July 16th – Versus Carolina Flyers at 6:00 p.m.
Saturday, July 23rd – Versus Chicago Union at 6:00 p.m.
Ultimate Clipboard: You can select your Thunderbirds ticket package that fits your budget here online. The Black and Gold faithful can watch games streamed by subscription on AUDL.tv. Followers of the Beautiful Game can go to the Riverhounds website to choose their seats here.
Next Up: The Pittsburgh Thunderbirds open their campaign Saturday, April 30, against the Detroit Mechanix. The opening huck is at 7:00 p.m. EDT at Grand Rapids Christian High School in Michigan.