Riverhounds SC (15-5-14, 3rd seed) vs Bethlehem Steel FC (14-12-8, 6th seed)
USL Cup Eastern Conference Quarterfinal
Saturday, October 20 – 7 p.m. – Highmark Stadium
After eight rounds of penalty kicks, with every conversion made, the Hounds Ray Lee missed his chance, sending his shot attempt left of the post that clinched the first-ever USL playoff win for Bethlehem Steel FC.
In first OT, Hounds take lead as Hugh Roberts with the header.
HALF TIME – Hounds holding on to 1-0 lead.
Match has been physical.
Ben Zemanski scores in 25th minute to give the Hounds a lead.
— Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC (@RiverhoundsSC) October 20, 2018
An update from Cincinnati — in a match that went to PK’s — FCC wins 1-1, 6-5 on penalties.
FCC will advance to USL Eastern Conference semifinals to take on winner of Charleston-NY Red Bulls II.
— John Krysinsky (@PghSoccerScribe) October 20, 2018
Here’s the starting line-ups …
Riverhounds SC Starting XI
GK – Dan Lynd
D – Mo Dabo, Thomas Vancaeyezeele, Joe Greenspan, Hugh Roberts, Jordan Dover
MF – Kenardo Forbes (c), Ben Zemanski, Romeo Parkes, Christiano Francois
F – Neco Brett
Mike Kirk (G), Todd Pratzner, Tobi Adewole, Ray Lee, Kevin Kerr, Joe Holland, Kay Banjo
Bethlehem Steel FC
GK – Jake McGuire
D – Matt Real, Ben Ofeimu, Matt Maloney, Oliver Mbaizo
MF – James Chambers (c), Anthony Fontana, Brendon Aaronson, Michee Ngalina, Santi Moar
F – Faris Moumbagna
Tomas Romaro (G), Omar Holness, Chris Nanco, Drew Skundrich, Aidan Apodaca, Brandon Aubrey, A.J. Paterson
TV: Pittsburgh’s CW
John Krysinsky – Reporting
Ed Thompson – Photography
Starting line-ups posted here at approximately 6:10 p.m.
Check out our social media platforms leading up to the match for additional features/updates
This will be the first-ever Riverhounds home playoff game at Highmark Stadium, marking the Hounds return to the postseason for the first time since 2015. Saturday’s match is the culmination of a turn-around season for the franchise under new coach Bob Lilley, his coaching staff and a talented group of players that have taken the franchise to new heights
The Riverhounds won both matches with the Steel FC this season, including the latest result coming at Highmark Stadium in early September when Pittsburgh broke open a tight contest late in the match for a 4-1 win.
The Hounds finally added the additional 1,400 seats to the East End of the stadium — and are very close to a sellout as game day approaches.
— Ed Thompson (@EdwardKThompson) October 19, 2018
Another thing to take note of — the USL has instituted a new rule in playoffs — adding a fourth substitute if games go into extra time.
The Hounds are calling for a a gold out. All fans in attendance will receive a gold rally towel, courtesy of Allegheny Health Network, and, additionally, the first 2,000 fans 21-years-and-older will get a gold t-shirt, provided by Heineken.
Potential Starters for the Riverhounds:
GK – Dan Lynd
D – Joe Greenspan – Hugh Roberts – Thomas Vancaeyezeele – Jordan Dover – Ray Lee
MF – Ben Zemanski – Kenardo Forbes – Romeo Parkes – Christiano Francois
F – Neco Brett
PSN’s COMPREHENSIVE PLAYOFF COVERAGE
Pittsburgh Soccer Now coverage team has been on top of things this week from Hounds training sessions and more including the following:
Soccer comes to PSLive! From the Beaver County Auto studios, @PghSoccerScribe talks @RiverhoundsSC in the playoffs. Can Pittsburgh "fill the Mark?" Plus, the start of the WPIAL playoffs. https://t.co/XX2OuF4E7T @SteelArmy @pghsoccernow
— PGH Sports Live (@pghsportslive) October 19, 2018
Ed Thompson’s Photo Gallery from Friday’s training
MORE ON BETHLEHEM STEEL FC
Bethlehem Steel head coach Brendan Burke has found a good balance between experience and youth throughout this season. He’s been constantly adjusting the lineup. The Steel have had a different lineup 98 times in the club’s 100-game existence. It’s only taken Burke about two seasons to really build up and develop a quality team, with the squad improving every year. This season, we see that his balancing act has paid off for both Bethlehem and the Union, with both teams clinching playoff berths.
Justin welcomes back Evan Villella of The USL Show to help kickoff our first ever playoff preview show! Together they discuss:
- Evan’s take on the first round matchups league-wide,
- How things might progress round-by-round,
- What to expect on Saturday,
Mark Goodman will be providing his scouting report on Steel FC later.
Much like its senior club, Philadelphia Union, Bethlehem will play their 4-2-3-1 with the outside shoulders of the penalty area as prime staging areas for offensive activity. Be on the lookout for one newcomer, Brenden Aaronson, since the teams played last, the 17 year-old was signed to a Homegrown contract with the Union. He won’t get placed on the Union roster until 2019, but has been a part of the Steel’s line-up in central midfield since his signing.
GK: Tomas Romero; D: Olivier Mbaizo, Matt Mahoney, Ben Ofeimu, Matt Real; M: James Chambers ©, Anthony Fontana; Michee Ngalina, Brenden Aaronson, Santi Moar; F: Chris Nanco.
Bench: Faris, Aidan Apodaca, Omar Holness, Drew Skundrich, Prosper Chiluya, Brandon Aubrey, Kris Shakes.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
“There’s a buzz in the air,” second-year Hound Joe Greenspan told me after Wednesday’s training session. “There’s a lot of guys here, including myself, who haven’t played in a playoff game since our professional career started.
“So yeah, I think a lot of guys are excited. I know the city’s excited. There’s lots to look forward to this weekend.”
🎥: “We genuinely feel if we turn up and we give our best performance, we’ll have a great chance of winning the game.”@KevinKerr89 and @Cheetahcf7 talk playoff excitement ahead of #PGHvBST on Saturday night. pic.twitter.com/ZNXU47ovPJ
— Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC (@RiverhoundsSC) October 18, 2018
— Steel Army (@SteelArmy) October 20, 2018
HOUNDS IN POSTSEASON HISTORY
Of the 17 postseason games in club history, the Hounds have hosted four of these matches. The last time the team played a playoff game within its home confines occurred back in 2006 – a 4-0 loss to the Charlotte Eagles.
Despite this loss, Pittsburgh has fared well at home in the postseason (3-1 record). Its three victories date back to the 2004 (Harrisburg City Islanders), 2001 (Charleston Battery) and 1999 (Rochester Raging Rhinos) seasons.
The Black and Gold last played in the postseason during the 2015 campaign. Competing neck-and-neck with New York Red Bulls II, the squad fell 4-2 in extra time at Red Bull Arena.
No player currently on the Hounds’ roster has scored for the club in the postseason. As for all-time leading goalscorers, David Flavius leads the way with three playoff tallies for the franchise.
Gary DePalma, Goran Vasic, John Jones, Justin Evans, Said Ali and Willie Hunt are the only other Hounds to have at least two postseason goals to their names. Hunt posted his two goals in the Hounds’ last playoff match in 2015.
Bethlehem Steel FC overall record: 14-12-8
Bethlehem Steel FC road record: 6-8-3
Pittsburgh overall record: 15-5-14
Pittsburgh home record: 9-2-7
HOUNDS INJURY REPORT
Kyle Morton – Out (Lower-body)
Sept. 7, 2018, at Highmark Stadium
Pittsburgh 4, Bethlehem 1
PGH – Joe Greenspan 17’ (Ben Zemanski)
BST – James Chambers 35’ (penalty)
PGH – Kenardo Forbes 45’ (Neco Brett)
PGH – Neco Brett 76’
PGH – Jordan Dover 79’ (Ray Lee)
Aug. 12, 2018, at Goodman Stadium
Pittsburgh 2, Bethlehem Steel FC 1
PGH – Neco Brett 35’ (Kenardo Forbes)
BST – Chris Nanco 52’ (Santi Moar)
PGH – Neco Brett 79’ (Christiano François)
Goals: Neco Brett (15)
Assists: Kenardo Forbes (8)
Points: Neco Brett (37)
Saves: Dan Lynd (43)
Save %: Mike Kirk (.684)
GAA: Dan Lynd (0.81)
Bethlehem Steel FC
Goals: Santi Moar and Michee Ngalina (6)
Assists: Santi Moar (8)
Points: Santi Moar (20)
Saves: Jake McGuire (67)
Save %: John McCarthy (.754)
GAA: John McCarthy (1.17)
LAST TIME OUT…
New York 2, Pittsburgh 1
NY – Tom Barlow 30’
NY – Jared Stroud 90’+1 (José Aguinaga)
PGH – Joe Greenspan 90’+5 (Joe Holland)
Dan Lynd – Ray Lee (Joe Holland 79’), Thomas Vancaeyezeele, Joe Greenspan, Tobi Adewole, Jordan Dover – Ben Zemanski (Mouhamed Dabo 73’) – Romeo Parkes, Christiano François (Kevin Kerr 86’), Kenardo Forbes – Neco Brett
Bethlehem Steel FC
Bethlehem 1, Tampa Bay 0
BST – Michee Ngalina 13’ (Brenden Aaronson)
John McCarthy – Matthew Real, Benjamin Ofeimu, Matthew Mahoney, Olivier Mbaizo – James Chambers, Anthony Fontana – Santi Moar (Chris Nanco 84’), Brenden Aaronson (Drew Skundrich 71’), Michee Ngalina – Fabian Herbers (Faris Pemi Moumbagna 76’)