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Hounds battle back for 1-1 draw; drop three points back in playoff race

From USL Reports:
Stephen Okai found an equalizer for the Riverhounds late to match a strike from Raul Gonzalez as Pittsburgh and the Riverhounds finished level at Highmark Stadium on Saturday.
Richmond was aggressive early with a corner kick opportunity in the 16th minute. Sunny Jane sent in a ball for Oscar Umar, but his header was just wide of the near post.
Pittsburgh came back 11 minutes late with a well-placed pass from Kevin Kerr that found Corey Hertzog, but his touch was redirected high of the net.
Late in the first half, Richmond’s Raul Gonzalez launched a powerful strike to the side of the net but his attempt was saved cleanly by a diving Trey Mitchell.
In the 52nd minute, Richmond earned a free kick just outside the box, but Jane’s lofted try was caught easily by Pittsburgh keeper Mitchell.
Cheavughn Walsh had a close-range header attempt off a beautiful cross from Kerr which was thwarted by Richmond keeper Matt Turner.
Yudai Imura set up the opening tally of the game with a run into the attacking third and a quick dump off to Gonzalez, whose right-footed curler found its way over Mitchell and into the back corner of the net.
Sub Romeo Parkes sent in a cheeky pass on a free kick at 79’ that found Hertzog, who was unfortunately offside in the box.
After being on the attack throughout the second half, Stephen Okai found the equalizer in the 82nd minute. Despite Richmond sitting back in defensive shape, the Riverhounds midfielder carved out space in the penalty area where he was found by Victor Souto and Okai got a fierce strike into the back of the net.
“Still 30 points left on the table for us, but we’ve given away two points in a lot of games – maybe four of the last six with those five draws,” Dave Brandt, Riverhounds Head Coach said, “I think we have the right to expect of ourselves in three or four of those draws easily to say ‘hey, that one was there for the win.’”
The Kickers are now 3-11-8 on the season while Pittsburgh moves to 5-8-9, and remain 12th place, but now three points off the playoff line with 24 points.
65’ – RIC – Raul Gonzalez (Yudai Imura)
82’ – PGH – Stephen Okai (Victor Souto)
#PGHvRIC: Full Match and Opta Box Score
Three Things That Matter:

  • 1. Both squads came into this matchup struggling as of late. Richmond had one win the last fifteen matches while Pittsburgh hadn’t won since an impressive victory against the Rowdies on June 22nd. These runs as of late are due to limited offense from both clubs, as the Riverhounds and the Kickers rank 24th and 27th in the league in goals scored. Richmond played defensively after grabbing the lead in the first half, but Victor Souto led the Pittsburgh attack by creating opportunities to score for the Riverhounds in the second half.
  • 2. Before this contest, Richmond had played four games in the last ten days which challenged their stamina. The Kickers had a week of rest heading into this road matchup, which showed on the field in the first half as they held 52% of the possession in the opening 45 minutes. The club also seemed more under control compared to the Riverhounds. This game was similar to the Kicker’s last few games as the club lost the possession battle heavily in the second half but capitalized on the few opportunities to find a score and earn a draw on the road.
  • Going into this matchup Pittsburgh was 1-5-2 against the Kickers all-time including 0-2-1 at Highmark Stadium. It looked for a long time that Richmond would steal another three points, but Pittsburgh was able to battle back late. It was important for the Riverhounds to earn a point, but the club remains without a win at home against the Richmond and have now played seven straight games without a win.

Hounds Starting XI: 
Riverhounds – Trey Mitchell – Taylor Washington, Jamal Jack, Tobi Adewole, Marshall Hollingsworth – Jack Thompson (Romeo Parkes 45’), Danny Earls (Victor Souto 68’), Stephen Okai, Kevin Kerr – Chevaughn Walsh, Corey Hertzog
Subs not used: Keasel Broome, Gale Agbossoumonde, Shannon Gomez, Ritchie Duffie, Kay Banjo

Upcoming Games:
Pittsburgh Riverhounds at Harrisburg City Islanders – August 12, 7:00 p.m. ET, FNB Field

John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets. He is also author of 'Miracle on the Mon' -- a book about the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, which chronicles the club, particularly the early years of Highmark Stadium with the narrative leading up to and centered around a remarkable match that helped provide a spark for the franchise. John has covered sports for Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, DK Pittsburgh Sports, Pittsburgh Sports Report, has served as color commentator on Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC broadcasts, and worked with OPTA Stats and broadcast teams for US Open Cup and International Champions Cup matches held in the US. 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).

Riverhounds MF Danny Griffin

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