• WHO: Pitt (8-7, 2-5 ACC) vs #19 Akron Zips (10-3-1, 2-1 MAC)
• WHEN: Tuesday, October 24, 7:02 p.m. kickoff
• WHERE: Ambrose Urbanic Field (University of Pittsburgh)
• WATCH HERE: WatchESPN/WatchESPN / LIVE STATS
FINAL – AKRON 3, PITT 0
The 19th ranked Akron Zips came to Pittsburgh as a team on a mission, winning its fifth game in a row, to hand the Pitt Panthers men’s soccer team a home loss in its final non-conference match of the season.
Pitt (8-8, 2-5 in ACC), playing shorthanded without three starters, surrendered a goal in the second minute, then played on even terms until late in the match when the Zips counter punched the Panthers twice with quick strikes.
Akron’s Nick Hinds scored twice, including the game’s opening goal, after wild sequence when his teammate Joe Korb powere by Pitt defender Mauriq Hill to advance deep into the box. As the ball was knocked away by Pitt keeper Mikel Outcault, Hinds swept in to get enough on the ball to get it into the goal.
Outcult was outstanding, making seven saves in the losing effort, including a few diving stops.
While the teams played out the rest of the first half on even terms, trading five shots each, Pitt couldn’t get the equalizer even with decent spells of possession throughout the 2nd half.
Akron scored again twice in a matter of minutes to put the game away late in the second half.
First on a counter, that ended as Skye Harter put through a left footed blast from 12 yards in the 78th minute, responding after Pitt had maintained a long run of possession but couldn’t generate a quality shot.
Three minutes later, the Zips put the game out of reach, as Hinds scored his second goal of the match on a nice through ball from Stuart Holthusen.
I’ll be meeting with Pitt coach Jay Vidovich after the match to get his reaction.
FOLLOW THE GAME WITH JOHN
9:09 p.m. – It’s over. Akron beats Pitt, 3-0.
9:01 p.m. – Akron pressuring again, and this time shot that gets through — Dexter with a kick save to keep score at 3-0
8:57 p.m. – GOAL – AKRON – 3-0
Nick Hinds finishes for his second goal of the night, after nice through ball from Stuart Holthusen
Pitt hasn’t trailed like this in a while
8:56 p.m. – Pitt’s Kizza picks up a yellow card for an elbow — while battling for ball at midfield
8:51 p.m. – GOAL – AKRON – 2-0
Skye Harter with left footed blast from 12 yds
After Pitt with lots of possession, backbreaking for Panthers to surrender a counter goal like that.
8:48 p.m. – Pitt with all kinds of possession in past few minutes.
knocking it around nicely.
8:44 p.m. – failed to mention earlier that Pitt is a bit shorthanded tonight, playing without some key players: Tom Ekpone, Javi Perez and Macony Pimental. Ekpone picked up red card vs UVA late in Friday’s match. Perez accumulated his fifth yellow card, so he has to sit out a game.
8:41 p.m. – Brezniak sees some room to shoot from about 30 yards, and put its on target but easy for Lundt to grab.
Lundt is a big boy– commanding keeperin the box at 6-foot-6.
8:38 p.m. – Gainford with time to shoot — drives a low one that Outcalt makes another dynamic save. Great reaction by soph keeper
8:35 p.m. – Pitt earns corner after cross in from Brezniak. Mauriq Hill connects with header on service into box, but Akron’s Lundt saves it
8:32 p.m. – Akron with free kick chance from top of arc. Skye Harter bends it but it just barely sails by right post
8:29 p.m. – Nice work by Pitt’s Dexter to keep possession alive, falls, gets up, beats a few defenders — then shot from left side misses right
8:24 p.m. – Zips with another dangerous build up, and ball in to Zajac but Ontario native’s shot is blocked by Cregan.
8:22 p.m. – Akron gets a corner — and Marcel Zajac’s header is stopped by quick reaction save by Outcalt
8:20 p.m. – Pitt earns a corner early. left footed service in from Kahlon, bounces out, for Dexter who tries a shot from 28 yds that goes over bar 49′
8:17 p.m. – second half underway
8:02 p.m. – HALF – Akron 1, Pitt 0
The very early goal by Hinds has held up.
Otherwise very even game — teams are equal on shots (5-5) and corners (1-1).
7:50 p.m. – lots of action coming now and things getting very chippy. Pitt’s Bryce Cregan, former Zip, was clipped by Ezana Kahsay. While still down, teams pushing and shoving
7:48 p.m. – Gaspari fouls Egbo on far left side — and Akron with another free kick. Gaspari is also booked
7:45 p.m. – Hard collision as Akron’s Skye Harter gets tripped up trying to go through two Panthers.
Free kick unleashed by Joao Moutinho.
Outcalt with tremendous save!
7:29 p.m. – Josh Coan with breakaway chance for Pitt as he receives a nice ball over top as he slips past Akron defenders to get inside right side of box, but shot missed wide right
7:14 p.m. – senior midfielder Raj Kahlon with first shot of night for Pitt, who’ve since settled down after the wild opening sequence.
7:06 p.m. – GOAL – AKRON – 1-0 (1:40)
Don’t blink! Nick Hinds puts it in after wild sequence after Joe Korb dribbles and powers by Pitt defender Mauriq Hill deep into the box. As it’s knocked away by Pitt keeper Mikel Outcault 1′
Follow in game updates on my twitter account: Pghsoccerscribe
I’ll be on location at Ambrose Urbanic Field — so you can follow all the action with me here.
• It’s the final non-conference game of 2017 for the resurgent Panthers, who bring a 21st national RPI ranking into the match against a nationally ranked opponent.
• Pitt and Akron meet for the 26th time in program history. The Zips lead the all-time series 16-7-2. Despite the history between the two sides, this is the first time they’re meeting in 34 years. The Panthers claimed the last outing in 1983, 1-0, in Pittsburgh.
• Head coach Jay Vidovich is 3-2-1 against Akron, in his years when coaching at Wake Forest.
• Pitt fell on the road Friday, Oct. 20 to No. 10 Virginia in Charlottesville, 2-1, in a hard-fought game that went to double overtime. Pitt found the equalizer in the 76th minute as Alexander Dexter who is heating up, having scored in three straight games, and in four of the last five. The freshman forward leads the Panthers with 6 goals. Dexter, who is a native of Brooklyn, spent time with German academy FK Pirmasens prior to coming to Pittsburgh.
• This will be a match that senior captain center back Bryce Cregan has been looking forward to, having played his first two collegiate seasons prior to transferring to Pittsburgh when Vidovich was hired in 2016. Cregan started 12 of 16 matches for the Zips, in his freshman season in 2014, recording one assist, but only made three appearances in 2015. Cregan has been a part of the U.S. Youth National Team system, making eight international appearances and was a member of the U.S. U17 Men’s National Team.
• Akron comes to Pittsburgh on a four-game winning streak after defeating Bowling Green in overtime, 2-1, Saturday, Oct. 21. Last week, the Zips checked in at No. 19 in the United Coaches Poll and were 23 in the RPI. Like Pitt, Akron has faced a lot of nationally ranked opponents in 2017 and have gone 4-3 against those teams. And like the Panthers, the Zips defeated No. 8 Notre Dame, 2-0, on Oct. 17.
• Akron is led by Sam Gainforod with 14 points (five goals, four assists) on the year, while Nick Hinds is close behind with 10 points (four goals, two assists).
• In goal, Ben Lundt has played the majority of minutes and has recorded four shutouts with a 0.58 goals against average. The Zips’ defense has allowed just eight goals, while putting in 26 of their own.