Houston Dynamo loan three players to USL PRO affiliate Pittsburgh Riverhounds

Anthony Arena, Jason Johnson and Bryan Salazar to join Pittsburgh for start of USL PRO season

Three Houston Dynamo players—Anthony Arena, Jason Johnson and Bryan Salazar—will join the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, the club’s USL PRO affiliate, it was announced today.

Pending USSF approval the three players will join the Riverhounds ahead of their season opener on Saturday at Orlando City. The Dynamo and Riverhounds formed an affiliate partnership for the 2014 season last November. Pittsburgh spent a portion of its preseason training at Houston Sports Park and played the Dynamo in a preseason scrimmage on Feb. 19.

Arena, 23, was selected by the Dynamo in the 2013 Supplemental Draft out of Wake Forest University. The central defender made his MLS debut at Columbus last June and also appeared in a 2-0 win over FC Tucson in the U.S. Open Cup. The Kenmore, Wash. native appeared in 79 games in four seasons at Wake Forest.

Johnson is also in his second professional season after the Dynamo selected him with the No. 13 overall selection in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft out of Virginia Commonwealth University. A member of Generation adidas, Johnson appeared in 13 regular season games (four starts) and scored one goal last season. The 23-year-old has made three appearances for the Jamaica national team, including two appearances last November. Johnson also made five appearances (four starts) and scored one goal in the CONCACAF Champions League and added two more starts in the U.S. Open Cup last season.

Salazar signed as a Homegrown Player from the Dynamo Academy last February and joined the club full time in June after graduating from Fort Bend Bush High School in Houston. Salazar, 19, made his professional debut against FC Tucson in the U.S. Open Cup last May. Prior to signing with the senior team, Salazar spent six years in the Dynamo development program, progressing from the Junior Academy at age 13 to the U-18 squad.

The Riverhounds were founded in 1999 and play at Highmark Stadium, a 3,500-seat soccer-specific stadium that opened in April 2013. Managed by former MLS player Justin Evans, Pittsburgh joined USL PRO in 2011 and finished in seventh place in the 2013 regular season. 

USL PRO is the third tier in the U.S. Soccer pyramid. The league will feature 14 clubs for the 2014 season, including expansion teams in Oklahoma City and Sacramento. Four of the last five clubs to enter MLS have moved up from the USL’s top professional division. The Vancouver Whitecaps, Seattle Sounders, Portland Timbers and Montreal Impact all operated franchises in the USL’s top professional division before making the transition to MLS.