The Pittsburgh Riverhounds Football Club lost by a score of two to nil to the Wilmington Hammerheads this past Saturday night at the Valley. The Hounds went into the second half trailing by two and were not able to find the back of the net after 90 minutes. Our best scoring chance saw leading scorer Randolph Jerome taken down by the Hammerhead's keeper on a clear break. The referee incorrectly ruled that the keeper played the ball, but it was clear to all 887 people in attendance that Jerome was pulled down while the ball rolled just wide.
Jerome has been the Hounds most consistent and dangerous player in 2009. His six goals and 13 points in 14 games led the Hounds. His speed and power has allowed gaffer Gene Klein (for better or worse) to implement a 4-5-1 formation with Jerome playing as the lone forward. Jerome spent last season with the Cleveland Shitty Stars. When he was signed by the Riverhounds this spring we in the Steel Army were not impressed. In fact, I was flat out opposed to the move and questioned Klein's decision. However, Jerome's strong play and constant hustle won me over quickly. The prophetic phrase 'Jerome is gonna get ya' was chanted by the Steel Army faithful each week.
I would be lying if I wrote that Jerome's departure didn't affect me. I made it a point to find him after the game and asked him about his situation. He informed me that his visa had run out and that he had to leave that same night. I took off my scarf and draped it over his shoulders, thanked him for everything and wished him luck in the future. Teary eyed, he accepted, and thanked the Steel Army for our support. Jerome, you're a class act and will be missed.
It's been a long season full of both good and bad times. We've still got a remote shot at postseason play but without Jerome in the lineup our attack will lack bite. Perhaps we'll finally see Sean Bucknor unleashed against the Eagles next weekend? Maybe the speedy Bill Brindley will factor in? Could Joe Zewe, Jeff Hughes or Tommy Gray move into a forward role with the club? In any event, the games will go on and the Steel Army will be there to support the squad.