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Pittsburgh Riverhounds

FINAL: Riverhounds SC 0, Penn 0

FINAL: Riverhounds SC 0, Penn 0

FINAL – Pittsburgh Riverhounds 0 vs Penn FC 0

The Riverhounds battle to a second consecutive scoreless draw to start the season — on Saturday battling Keystone Derby rivals Penn FC to a stalemate at Highmark Stadium

The Hounds may have a had a few missed chances, and played solid defensively, it was a performance that left a lot to be desired in the eyes of the team’s head coach.

“We could win a a game like that, but we didn’t deserve to win tonight,” Bob Lilley, Hounds head coach said.

Dan Lynd earned his second clean sheet in goal, while the Hounds dominated possession (59%) and ended up with 12-8 shots advantage (4-1 with shots on target).

“There’s no doubt, we’re disappointed,” Joe Greenspan, Hounds defender said after the match. “It was the home opener, and we’re always looking to take three point, but we had chances to finish here or there.”

The Riverhounds said they wouldn’t sit back early in the match, and they certainly came out on the attack, creating numerous chances, but failing to convert each time.

Romeo Parkes was on the receiving end of a few golden opportunities.

In the 20th minute, after Kenardo Forbes was able to get a quick restart — then he lofted a perfectly placed ball over to Parkes who broke into the box with only the goalkeeper Roumauld Peiser to beat, but missed his shot left of the post.

Four minutes later, Jordan Dover played a nice ball into the far right side to Christiano François as the Hounds were pushing forward. François’ delivered a perfectly placed cross into the far post area, but again Parkes mis-connected – sending a one-timer way over the bar and over the Steel Army in the Paul Child Stand.

Dover and François were busy on the right side, also connecting in the 15th minute on an inside-out passing combination that left Dover with lots of room to shoot from the right corner of the box. This time, Peiser was forced to extend his body to make a highlight reel save to deny the Hounds first goal of the season.

More chances would come.

Parkes was knocked down in the box in the 30th minute — and referee Charles Murphy took some heat from the crowd for letting the play go. Joe Holland would also put a quality shot to the inside of the left post that forced Peiser to make his second save of the night.

In all, the Hounds outshot Penn FC 8-5, getting the only two shots on target in the first half.

“It’s always tough,” Greenspan added. “You get chances, you get opportunities, and it’s a bit deflating. That the mental part of the game that we have to overcome, and keep pushing forward to get that goal.

 

 

 

GAMEDAY UPDATES:

2nd half

46′ – No changes for either side

52′ -most possession with Penn FC in early going of 2nd half, Hounds doing a decent job of limiting chances though.

55′ – Parkes draws foul in corner while holding ball up. Essentially a corner coming for Hounds.

62′ – Holland subbed out for Ben Zemanski who makes his Hounds debut

64′ – Kerr breaks through into box but collides with keeper Peiser before he can get shot away.

65′  – Zemanski feeds Kerr — who finds nice ball over top to François, who shot is saved by Peiser.

67′ – Heinemann breaks through – gets weak shot on goal but Lynd makes first save of night

78′ – Neco Brett in for Kerr, who probably came out as precaution after having staples taken out after last week’s head injury.

82′- Muhammad in for Mkosana

83′ – Zemanski with solid volley on target but again Peiser is there with diving save

86′ – Parkes gets inside Tribbett on ball played over top, but ball forced out for corner. Hounds can’t get shot from corner but keep possession

89′ – Hounds trying another long ball in for Francois, but Peiser gets there first.

90′ – four minutes added

 

1st half

5′ – a quick counter for Hounds — and Kerr gets it into center of box — plays it to Parkes who takes shot that just misses left of goal

15′ – Francois sets up Dover on a nice ball into box — Dover rips a shot at center of goal and wow — @PennFCOfficial keeper Peiser makes a nice, highlight save.

20′ – Hounds put ball down after whistle — and play super quick restart — ball gets to Parkes in space — but he completely misses a great chance — wide left as @SteelArmy and crowd groan loudly

24′ – Hounds keep bringing it…
Dover plays it wide to Francois — who send a great ball to far post area — and again it’s Parkes who can’t connect — sending ball way over bar

30′ – Adewole has to make a nice play to block a shot after ball gets through to far post area — then Hounds quickly counter. Parkes gets behind defender and into box — and goes down but referee Charles Murphy doesn’t call any contact.

37′ – Francois is booked for a challenge after going under Tribbett while PFC defender was up in air.

39′ – Now Tribbett takes down Francois outside box on left side — no card issued, but Hounds with free kick chance that Holland takes and send way over bar

41′ – no shortage of chances or excitement — Hounds pressing again. Holland with quality shot to inside left post is saved by Peiser,

42′ – Francois trying to get around PFC midfielder — is called for another foul. Lilley animated — does not like call.

44′ – Salvatore Barone is given a yellow card — looked like he may have delayed a Hounds quick counter chance by kicking ball away.

45′  – one minute stoppage time added

Half ends in a scoreless tie. Hounds coach Bob Lilley can’t be happy with failed chances — and with the referees as well.

 

6:02 p.m. – looks like the Hounds are going with 4-3-3 tonight

Riverhounds Starting XI:

GK – Dan Lynd

D – Ray Lee, Joe Greenspan, Tobi Adewole, Jordan Dover

MF – Joe Holland, Thomas Vancaeyezeele, Kenardo Forbes

F – Kevin Kerr, Romeo Parkes, Christiano Francois

Available subs:

Kyle Morton, Kay Banjo, Neco Brett, Mouhammed Dabo, Andrew Lubahn, Todd Pratzner, Ben Zemanski

Here’s Penn FC’s starting XI — of note — newly signed Tommy Heinemann is in the line-up alongside Lucky Mkosana as the two forwards for PFC.

6:35 p.m. – on field during warm-up — got a look at the new riverside, sideline seats…

KEY STORYLINES

  • The Riverhounds open home portion of the schedule after playing a hard-fought, scoreless tie before 18,922 fans in Nashville, TN last week, by taking on its traditional in-state rivals, Penn FC, who were previously known as Harrisburg City Islanders.
  • This is the fourth edition of the Keystone Derby Cup. The Hounds have captured the Cup twice in the past three seasons. For more on the history between the two during the Cup series, see below.
  • Home openers have been a mixed bag for the Hounds since 2011. The Black and Gold is 3-3-1 with three of those matches coming against Penn FC – then the Harrisburg City Islanders – holding a 2-1 edge in results.
  • One player to watch this Saturday is the ever-reliable veteran midfielder Kevin Kerr. Sporting the captain’s armband last weekend, Kerr was a persistent presence in the Hounds attack, and played through despite getting a gash on his head that required him to play with a head bandage — and later get staples. On Friday, Kerr said he’ll be fine and ready to go for Saturday. Kerr remains the all-time leader in the Keystone Derby Cup series — with six goals. In addition, Kerr is on the cusp of climbing the club’s all-time leaders charts in a couple statistical categories. With an appearance on Saturday, Kerr will tie Mike Green for third most in appearances at 133 and he also sits at No. 7 all-time in goals scored in league play (22) – one tally away from tying Phil Karn and José Angulo for No. 5 all-time in team history.
  • On the defensive side, playing a major role in keeper Dan Lynd’s shutout effort was defender Joe Greenspan. As center of a three-man back line in Saturday’s opener at Nashville, Greenspan posted 14 of the club’s 25 clearances overall, was not timid in getting in the air and mixing it up physically in a hard-fought match.
  • Some news out of Penn FC camp this week as the signing of Tommy Heinemann, who originally signed with FC Cincinnati in the off season, but then his contract was not valid after — according to FCC — he didn’t pass his physical. Heinemann and his representatives responded that same day, claiming that he was healthy and that they planned to file a formal dispute. The results of the dispute came on February 21st, with the USL finding in favor of Heinemann. Heinemann had a very successful 2017 season in the NASL with the San Francisco Deltas. He lead the team in scoring and even put away the go-ahead goal in the 2017 Soccer Bowl.

  • In order to be in compliance with USL requirements, Hounds were expected to add nearly 1,500 seats to Highmark Stadium this past off season to reach the minimum 5,000 capacity. On Thursday, the work began, only two days before the season opener. Despite the team’s high expectations this season on the field, heading into the opener, it appears that the Hounds may be fortunate to have 3,000 fans in attendance for the opener, as according to my sources, they’re not close to a sell-out.

CLOSER LOOK AT PENN FC

Here’s our own Riverhound Rabbi’s terrific scouting report on Penn FC, who are searching for their own identity.

In addition, as part of the Pittsburgh Soccer Now network, the following  Preview podcast. included my interviews on Thursday with Hounds coach Bob Lilley, and one of the newest signings, Andy Lubahn, who played with the City Islanders in 2015, and Mike and Justin from MonGoals chatted with Chris Bratton, who covers Penn FC for the Brotherly Game.

INJURY REPORT

Only one Hounds player is coming up on this week’s injury report:

Ben Fitzpatrick had a sports hernia surgery this week, and will be out indefinitely.

A CLOSER LOOK AT KEYSTONE DERBY CUP (2015-present)

Pittsburgh captured the Cup in 2015 after four enthralling contests that featured 28 goals — clinching in the final game of the regular season at Harrisburg.  Harrisburg returned the favor in 2016, beating the Hounds 2-1 in Pittsburgh in late July game that was sandwiched between two draws that was the difference. In 2017, the Cup returned to Pittsburgh when the Hounds won 1-0 at home in April, then the teams played to a 0-0 draw in Harrisburg, and the Hounds rolled to a 3-0 triumph in the finale in August at FNB Field on City Island.

The teams will play three times this season, including a return match at Highmark Stadium on May 26.

Keystone Cup (Game-by-game)

2015

March 28 – Hounds, 5-3, at Highmark Stadium (Kerr and Vincent score all five goals in season opener)

May 30 – Hounds 6-5, at Highmark Stadium  (Miracle on the Mon – Hounds score three goals in stoppage time)

July 26 – City Islanders 4-3, at Skyline Sports Complex, City Island (Harrisburg completes come-from-behind effort after playing down a man)

September 19 – Hounds 2-1, at Skyline Sports Complex, City Island (Hounds clinch first-ever Keystone Derby Cup, and USL playoff berth in season finale)

2016

July 4 – 0-0, at Highmark Stadium (No fireworks on this 4th of July)

July 17 – City Islanders, 2-1, at Highmark Stadium (Kerr with the only tally for the Hounds)

August 27 – 1-1, at FNB Field, Harrisburg (City Islanders capture Keystone Derby Cup)

2017 

April 29 – Hounds, 1-0, at Highmark Stadium (Kerr and Corey Hertzog connect on game’s lone goal in 76th minute)

May 24 – 0-0, at FNB Field, Harrisburg (scoreless draw sets up deciding match in August)

August 12 – Hounds, 3-0, at FNB Field (Pittsburgh cruises to victory in recapturing the Cup on City Island)

 

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING ABOUT #PGHvPEN

Kerr, almost three years ago to this day scored three times in the last Hounds home opener vs Harrisburg, had this say about this week’s opponents:

“They look like a quality, sound team,” Kerr said about the revamped Penn FC. “It might be the best team that they’ve put out in a while. They played Charleston really tough last week, limited their chances, and they’ll be more than happy to do the same to us.”

One player that’s has now been on both sides of the rivalry, Andy Lubahn, one of the Hounds newest signings, can’t wait for the 2018 edition of the Keystone Derby Cup to kick:

“We’re moving in the right direction,” Lubahn. “(In 2015) Those were some fun games, high scoring, exciting to be a part of. It’s cool. It reflects the growth of the game in Pittsburgh. There’s a decent amount of buzz. I’m excited for it.”

Hounds coach Bob Lilley:

“We want to be able to play a different way week-to-week. That’s going to be a mainstay of our team, as we have different personnel, that can do different things,” Lilley said.

Harrisburg posed a lot of problems for Charleston on the road, and buttoned that game up, and they’re going to try to that here in all likelihood here, so we’re going to try to take initiative from the start this week, that we didn’t last week in the first half at Nashville.”

 

PRE-GAME DETAILS 

7 p.m. Kickoff / Highmark Stadium

TV / Stream / Pittsburgh’s CW, YouTube

Follow:  Twitter – #PGHvPEN

USL Match Center 

Forecast:  55 degrees, cloudy (5% chance of rain)

Hounds Pregame Notes 

PSN Coverage:  John Krysinsky will be on site at Highmark Stadium, (follow on twitter @pghsoccerscribe) and in-game updates below.

All-time series (since USLPro began in 2011): 7-7-6, Hounds lead Keystone Derby Cup series 2-1 (since 2015)

John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets including Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, DK Pittsburgh Sports, Pittsburgh Sports Report, and more. Krysinsky also served as the Head Men’s Soccer Coach at his alma mater, Point Park University, where he led the Pioneers to the first-ever winning seasons and playoff berths (1996-98); head coach of North Catholic boys (2007-08), associate head coach of Shady Side Academy boys (2009-2014).

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