The Keystone Derby Cup is now in danger of slipping away from the Pittsburgh Riverhounds after a 2-1 loss to in-state rivals Harrisburg City Islanders on Sunday at Highmark Stadium.
First half goals by Dante Leverock and Jose Barril thanks to defensive miscues were enough for the City Islanders (5-13-3, 17 points) to hold off a second half comeback effort by the Hounds (2-11-4, 10 points).
On the first goal, in the 27th minute, Leverock slipped through the far post area on a Garrit Pettis corner kick to easily head the ball in for the go-ahead goal in the 27th minute.
Moments later, the Hounds failed to clear a rebound from a Mauricio Vargas save from a shot. The ball came to City Islanders’ Jose Barril, who scooted past a lunging Willie Hunt, and then pushed a low shot off Mike Green‘s leg that skipped past an outstretched Vargas to give the City Islanders a commanding two goal lead in the 32nd minute.
Kevin Kerr‘s goal in the 61st minute ended the Hounds scoreless streak that extended more than four games, but it was all they could muster even as they pushed forward for much of the second half.
After Nick Thompson was called for a handball in the box in the 79th minute, it appeared that would be the final nail in the coffin for the Hounds.
But Vargas made a great diving save on the penalty kick taken by Bobby Warshaw.
Drew Russell pinged a shot off the corner of the goal in the late stages — and in stoppage time Kerr looped a pass over to the right side to Nick Thomspon, who played a ball to Corey Hertzog to headed the ball into goal.
But the Hounds were called offside.
With the win in the second leg of the three game Keystone Derby series, Harrisburg has jumped out to a one goal edge with two crucial road goals (2-1) after the team’s played to a scoreless draw in their first meeting in Pittsburgh.
The final and deciding leg of the series will be played on August 27 in Harrisburg. The Riverhounds will likely need to win by two goals to ensure that the Cup stays in Pittsburgh.
Kerr, who was one of the heroes in helping Pittsburgh capture the Keystone Derby Cup in 2015, was thoroughly disappointed in the result in what has been what he described as the hardest season he’s experienced since coming to Pittsburgh in 2013.
Head coach Dave Brandt also shared Kerr’s disappointment, and said that despite the loss that the season is not lost and they will have to keep pushing forward.
Pittsburgh Soccer Report’s John Krysinsky will have more on this game and the state of the Riverhounds later this week.
The Riverhounds conclude a three game home stand on Saturday, July 23, when they host Charlotte Independence at Highmark Stadium. The game is scheduled to kickoff at 7 p.m.
Riverhounds – Mauricio Vargas – Mike Green (Drew Russell 46′)- Sergio Campbell – Willie Hunt – Jack Thompson (Marshall Hollingsworth 63′) – Ryan Adeleye (Conor Branson 36′) – Danny Earls – Kevin Kerr – Lebo Moloto (Ben Swanson 76′) – Zak Boggs (Nick Thompson 55′) – Corey Hertzog
Subs not used: Hunter Gilstrap, Stephen Okai
City Islanders – Keasel Broome – Jamie Thomas – Liam Doyle – Dante Leverock – Shawn McLaws – Cardel Benbow – Bobby Warshaw – Mohammed Dabo – Matt Bolduc (Josh Hughes 73′) – Jose Barril (Shane Campbell 90′)- Garret Pettis (Brett Jankouskas 66′)
Subs not used: Nick Noble, Yousseff Norcini, Josh Hughes, Danny Diprima, Craig Foster
HAR- Dante Leverock 29′ (Jose Barril)
HAR- Jose Barril 33′
PGH- Kevin Kerr 60′ (Corey Hertzog)
PGH- Kevin Kerr (Caution)
PGH- Conor Branson (Caution)
HAR- Cardel Benbow (Caution)