The Pitt Panthers men’s soccer team plays in the Atlantic Coast Conference, and have a head coach, Jay Vidovich, who has won a National Championship, so opening up the Spring season against a pro team, Pittsburgh Riverhounds on Saturday at Ambrose Urbanic Field in Oakland was just another new challenge facing the rebuilding program.
The Panthers line-up, featuring a handful of new players, held its own against the pro team from across town in a 3-1 loss at Ambrose Urbanic Field on Saturday afternoon.
The Hounds struggled in the early going to produce quality chances in the final third until Kevin Kerr‘s finish in the 30th minute, as he received a nice pinpoint pass right at his foot with his back to goal just inside the box. Kerr turned to his right, and drilled a shot past Pitt keeper Mikal Outcalt.
The Panthers responded moments later when the new midfield combination of Marcony Pimentel and Colin Brezniak hooked up for the equalizer in the 34th minute.
Both teams kept the majority of their starters in the line-up after the start of the 2nd half.
It wasn’t until the Hounds made wholesale changes around the 60th minute did they strike again.
Marshall Hollingsworth broke toward the goal on the left side, and fired a left-footed shot on target that Outcalt turned away. Corey Hertzog, who scored twice in last week’s 3-0 win over Akron, only needed a clinical finish to break the tie for the Hounds.
The Panthers had an excellent chance to find the equalizer in the 75th minute when Brezniak’s shot was blocked by Hounds trialist Gale Agbossoumonde, and former Connellsville standout Alex Peperak‘s shot attempt that was right on target had to be saved by Keasel Broome.
As an aside, Agbossoumonde was brought on this week as the Hounds look to beef up its back line.
In the late stages, as Vidovich kept the same team on the field (only had one sub) for the Panthers, the Hounds fresher group of players added another goal as Key Banjo, who’s been a solid contributor to the attack throughout the preseason, finally scored one of his own as Hertzog found him unmarked in the box for the easy finish.
It was a fairly evenly played match, as the Hounds looked sloppy for stretches, and Pitt’s new-look line-up seems to have added more quality, primarily in the midfield with the additions of Pimentel, Brezniak, Chad Stout and Wake Forest transfer Josh Coan at forward. When Vidovich hit the recruiting trail, he clearly was looking for more help in the attack. While it’s still way early, this group showed a lot of promise on Saturday.
The Hounds have outscored three college opponents (and North Carolina FC) by a combined 9-2 in four matches this preseason.
I will have more from the Hounds tomorrow at their next scrimmage on Sunday at Highmark Stadium, and I will be catching up with coach Vidovich later this week to get his assessment of his team thus far this Spring.
Pitt is scheduled to play next against cross-town Division I foes Duquesne on March 17 at Rooney Field.
Pitt – Mikal Outcalt (GK), Bryce Creagan, Tom Moxham, Luca Mellor, Javi Perez, Marcony Pimentel, Colin Brezniak, Roosevelt Angulo, Matt Bishoff, Alex Peperak, Chad Stoudt (Josh Coan, 53′)
Riverhounds – Keasel Broome – Shane Campbell (Ritchie Duffie), Jamal Jack (Gale Agbossoumonde), Nick Thompson (Tobi Adewole), Taylor Washington (Jack Thompson) – Devaughn Elliott (Ben Fitzpatrick), Stephen Okai (Victor Souto), Mike Green (Ben Swanson), Kenroy Howell (Marshall Hollingsworth) – Kevin Kerr (Corey Hertzog), John Manga (Kay Banjo)
COLUMBUS LOANS TO RIVERHOUNDS
In addition to the result from today’s scrimmage with Pitt, the team announced today the official return of three Columbus Crew players on loan: Marshall Hollingsworth, Ben Swanson and Cristian Martinez to the team’s roster.
Both Hollingsworth and Swanson had been with the team for the good part of the past two weeks, and even played in the 2nd half of the Hounds scrimmage game vs University of Akron last Saturday and again in the 2nd half against Pitt. Hollingsworth scored the first goal of Pittsburgh’s 3-0 defeat of Akron, then created the shot that Hertzog scored on rebound against Pitt.
Martinez, 19, is still away with National team obligations — as he’s been playing in the CONCACAF U-20 Championship and World Cup qualifying.