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Riverhounds roll past Red Bulls II, 3-0

Riverhounds roll past Red Bulls II, 3-0

Riverhounds 3, NY Red Bulls II 0

USL Match Center / Box Score 

If there’s one area where the Riverhounds SC have struggled this season, it’s been with clinical finishes in the box.

On Saturday, starting two natural forwards at the top of the attack, Neco Brett and Romeo Parkes, paid off as they delivered three goals.

Each goal came on the end of terrific passes as the Hounds to pulled ahead for a 3-0 win over NY Red Bulls II before a near sellout crowd at Highmark Stadium.

With the win, the Hounds improve to 6-1-6, keeping pace with the other top teams in USL. With 24 points they are currently tied for second place in USL’s Eastern Conference standings with defending champion Louisville City, as both trail FC Cincinnati (30 points).

Despite the result, and its eighth shutout in 13 games, Hounds coach Bob Lilley wasn’t satisfied with what he saw, especially on the defensive end. The veteran coach, pushing this team to play at a championship level, adamantly stated his dissatisfaction after the game.

“It’s nice to get the result. It’s great to hear the crowd we had tonight,” Lilley said. “We worked hard in practice this week. We did things right tactically, but they (Red Bulls II) definitely had moments in and around our box, and they breached our back line. I know it was probably great for the fans to see three goals and a win, but we can do better.”

The Hounds came out in what was an attack-minded 4-2-2-2 (or 4-1-3-2 depending on how they were moving forward) — and in the first twenty minutes missed a few close chances in the early going, putting forth five of the game’s first six shots.

“We chose to dictate that tempo. I don’t think they expected us to be so direct the other way,” Lilley said. “We had six or seven clear moments where we got in and behind the back line. We made that choice — that we’re at home and we’re not going to let them press us and lose the ball in our end. We had clear advantages by playing forward.”

Red Bulls II were trying to be equally aggressive, holding the majority of possession for the match by a 60/40 margin — and putting forward three, sometimes four attackers, when they had their chances.

This created an open ended match.

“This game lent itself to an almost wide-open affair,” Lilley added. “Based on how we were playing and how they like to play.”

The Hounds would come through with the game’s first goal in the 27th minute, as Brett the man on the spot to head it in. It was a play that developed after an original cross from Christiano François from the left side missed Parkes, who made a run very deep inside the goal area.

Kevin Kerr kept the play alive though, collecting the ball on the right side, whipping it back in to Brett right in the center of the box.

It was third time this year Kerr assisted on a goal where he sent a second cross back into the box after the first one sailed through.

With Pittsburgh clinging to a 1-0 lead, Red Bulls II came close a few times after the second half started — and had its best chance in the 53rd minute.

Hounds defender Hugh Roberts had to line up his body to hug the post and had some help from the woodwork — in denying Red Bulls’ attacker Ben Mines‘ shot at the far post. Then Ray Lee reacted quickly to clear the ball away from danger.

“They probably had three or four great chances there at the beginning of the second half,” Lilley explained. “It’s important to get it right at both ends. A more experienced team would have punished us — as open as we were in the back at times. And that’s a concern. You shouldn’t look like your gonna leak three or four.”

Immediately following that sequence, the Hounds countered quickly with Kenardo Forbes getting it forward in the final third, then made nifty pass to set up Brett’s second goal of the game, and his eighth of the season.

“When you get chances, we have to make sure that we finish them,” Brett said. “It’s pretty fun to play with (Forbes). Sometimes you don’t think he’s going to see you, but he always sees. I have to make sure I stay alert whenever the ball is going to come, and I know it’s going to come 95 percent of the time.”

The third and final goal of the match that sealed the deal for the Hounds came from Parkes.

He had some help with a nice ball in by Ray Lee.

And he finally delivered on a header for his third of the season.

“It’s a great feeling,” Parkes said. “Coach has been begging me to score, to get on the end of one those. We worked hard for this — and Red Bulls are a good team. We knew it wouldn’t be easy — and this week in training it was intense.”

The Hounds will now face two of the tougher sides in the league on the road beginning with a road test at Charleston on Saturday, then they head to Louisville on the following Wednesday.

MAN OF THE MATCH — NECO BRETT 

PHOTO GALLERY (Photos by Rachael McKriger)

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99th Minute

•Brett has now found the back of the net in each of the last two outings as Pittsburgh has bounced back from its first and only loss of the season – a 1-0 home defeat at the hands of Nashville SC on May 30 – with a pair of victories.

• It was yet another shutout for the Hounds — as previously mentioned it’s eighth of the season in 13 games.

• Shortly after his cross for a quality chance in the early going,Ben Zemanski left the game with an apparent injury. Kerr subbed on for the Akron, Ohio native in the 22nd minute.

• With the result, Pittsburgh has now outscored its opponents 11-1 in eight home appearances. The Hounds are also have a goal differential of +10 this season. Second only to front running FC Cincinnati.

• Making his first appearance since March 30, Joe Greenspan filled in on the back line to get 20 minutes of game fitness. Also playing for the first time since a few late appearances early in the season, Kay Banjo returned to the line-up after his family dealt with a house fire in Maryland. Lilley said that the only field player that was on injured list, Mouhamed Dabo, is now cleared to play.

• The win was the first for Pittsburgh in the series with NYRBII since a 3-0 win on July 4, 2015 as New York entered the night with a 4-0-1 record in the last five meetings between the two squads.

• The Hounds won’t see NYRBII until the final game of the season at Red Bull Arena. New York’s road struggles continued as the side fell to 0-3-4 away from home in 2018. Head coach John Wolyniec side has now dropped 3-0 decisions in two straight road appearances and owns a -8 goal differential in the role of visitors as opposed to a +13 mark in seven home matches.

Riverhounds Starting XI

Riverhounds SC – Dan Lynd – Ray Lee, Hugh Roberts, Thomas Vancaeyezeele, Todd Pratzner, Jordan Dover – Ben Zemanski (Kevin Kerr 22′), Kenardo Forbes – Christiano François – Neco Brett (Joe Greenspan 74′), Romeo Parkes (Kay Banjo 78′)

Subs not used: Mike Kirk, Tobi Adewole, Andrew Lubahn, Joe Holland

NY Red Bulls II – Scott Levene – Niko De Vera, Kevin Politz, Wahab Ackwei, Lucas Stauffer – Chris Lema, Cristian Cásseres Jr (Tom Barlow 70′) – Amando Moreno (Jared Stroud 66′), Ben Mines (Stefano Bonomo 59′), Andrew Tinari – Brian White

Subs not used: Sam Llin, Tommy Redding, Jordan Scarlett, Steve Echeverria

Scoring Summary:

PGH – Neco Brett (Kevin Kerr) 27’
PGH – Neco Brett (Kenardo Forbes) 54’
PGH – Romeo Parkes (Ray Lee) 65’

Misconduct Summary:

PGH – Jordan Dover (caution) 32’
PGH – Thomas Vancaeyezeele (caution) 34’
NY – Tom Barlow (caution) 77’

 

Scoring Summary:

PGH – Neco Brett (Kevin Kerr) 27’
PGH – Neco Brett (Kenardo Forbes) 54’
PGH – Romeo Parkes (Ray Lee) 65’

Misconduct Summary:

PGH – Jordan Dover (caution) 32’
PGH – Thomas Vancaeyezeele (caution) 34’
NY – Tom Barlow (caution) 77’

 

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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