Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC (9-1-7, 34 points) vs. Charleston Battery (8-3-8, 32 points)
On Saturday, in a match between two teams battling near the top of the league’s standings, the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC came up empty despite creating numerous chances, then conceded a late goal to the Charleston Battery to lose 1-0 at Highmark Stadium.
It was a game filled with missed opportunities for Pittsburgh.
With the result, the Hounds (34 points) drop to third place, while Charleston (35 points) moves past Pittsburgh in the standings, as they take the season series (1-0-1).
It was a late goal by Atulla Guerra that was the difference in giving the red hot Battery a big road win, and handing the Hounds a disappointing result.
Number 1⃣1⃣ for Ataulla Guerra.
— Charleston Battery (@Chas_Battery) July 22, 2018
Early 2nd half notes:
Hounds set up a penalty kick in the 52nd minute, after Kevin Kerr‘s ball in from left end line hits a Charleston defender’s arm.
The team’s leading scorer, Neco Brett stepped up to take the penalty kick, but Charleston’s goalkeeper Joe Kuzminsky came up with the diving save to keep the clean sheet.
The Hounds continue to own the possession battle, but also continue to lack quality in the final third as second half battles coming mostly in midfield.
No subs yet for Hounds. Got to think we’ll be seeing Romeo Parkes soon Battery bring in Victor Mansaray for Gordon Wild though. 70′
After forcing a turnover, Ray Lee played a ball off to the left side — to Neco Brett — but Brett couldn’t push it past Kuzminsky who made another excellent save. Kevin Kerr was making a run on Lee’s right. Not sure if Lee saw Kerr. 79′
Hounds make first subs of the night in 81’. Romeo Parkes and Kay Banjo are in. Kevin Kerr and Neco Brett came out.
Halftime stats of note:
Possession (Pgh 57-43)
Shots (Pgh 7-2, 2-1 on target)
Corners (Pgh 4-3)
Crosses (Pgh 15-5)
1st half notes:
Game kicks off with Hounds playing toward the East end and into some gusty winds.
Hounds advance it into final third. Ray Lee delivers one of his patented low lining balls into the goal box area and Battery keeper Joe Kuzminsky knocks it down and clears it away.
Jay Bolt gets into space on left side for Charleston, and his service in box is cleared away to set up first corner of match. Hounds able to clear away ball sent to near post. 11′
Charleston counters and another corner, this one set up after another service in is blocked and cleared over end line. Gordon Wild with a beauty inswinging ball into box, Hounds scramble to clear by redirected shot from outside box right at GK Lynd. 14′
Kerr feeds François– and left footed shot bangs off bar. 16′
Kerr with a dandy of a service that finds Brett by penalty mark, but header connects and ball weakly bounces to right of goal. Hounds earn first corner. 19′
Ray Lee sneaks another ball in — this one on the ground that Kuzminsky goes down to knock away. Sets up another Hounds corner. 22′
Air Joe! Greenspan comes flying in on Hounds corner opportunity but heads it wide right as crowd gasps. 24′
Woodwork hit again! François hits the right post this time after getting ball from Vancaeyezeele on left side. 27′
Another counter chance builds up — goes to Kerr on left side who sends ball through into center of box, but no one there. I’m sending that Bob Lilley can’t be happy with Hounds not getting better chances on these runs into final third
GK – Dan Lynd
D – Ray Lee, Hugh Roberts, Joe Greenspan, Tobi Adewole, Jordan Dover
MF – Kenardo Forbes, Thomas Vancaeyezeele
F – Christiano François, Neco Brett, Kevin Kerr (c)
Mike Kirk (G), Todd Pratzner, Andy Lubahn, Noah Franke, Mo Dabo, Kay Banjo, Romeo Parkes
Joe Kuzminsky (G) – Jay Bolt, Neveal Hackshaw, Taylor Mueller, Leland Archer, O’Brian Woodbine – Kotaro Higashi , Tah Anunga, Angelo Kelly-Rosales, Gordon Wild (Nicholas Rittmeyer 68’) – Ataulla Guerra
Odisnel Cooper (G), Ian Suantesesson, Vincenzo Candela, Ryan Arambula, Patrick Okonkwo, Victor Mansaray
Saturday, July 21, 7 p.m.
Stats: USL Match Center
• The Riverhounds SC start the second half of the season looking to stay strong after a 13-day break between games when they face red-hot Old-Guard rival Charleston Battery in a match up of USL Eastern Conference’s second and third place teams.
• Both teams also haven’t been on the losing side since before they met in June, when neither conceded much when playing to a scoreless draw in Charleston. That match was even in just about every aspect and statistic, so it will be interesting to see how the two veteran coaches approach this match. It will be the second and final match between the long-time rivals who are hoping to keep within striking distance of front-running FC Cincinnati, who currently lead the Eastern Conference with 41 points.
• The Hounds are riding a six game unbeaten streak in league matches that stretches all the way back to May 30. Pittsburgh also haven’t surrendered a goal in the last 487 minutes of play (that’s the last five and a half games), and have posted three straight shutouts. In nine league games at home, the Hounds have only surrendered one goal.
• For more on the Hounds success in the first half this season, and what to expect going forward, below is my detailed mid season piece.
MORE ON CHARLESTON
The juiciest match-up for this one will feature the USL’s leading scorer, Ataulla Guerra going up against Riverhounds vaunted defense. In the first match between the teams, the Hounds did a pretty decent job of bottling up Guerra. Pittsburgh’s three man back line of Joe Greenspan, Tobi Adewole and Hugh Roberts won 7 of 10 duels, won three fouls against the topman, while limiting him to only one shot that missed the target and another that Adewole blocked.
The Battery have also featured a three-man back line anchored by Neveal Hackshaw who can open up and exploit the gaps — always looking to work it forward to talented midfielders Gordon Wild and Kotaro Higashi to get the Battery points on the board.
In addition, the Battery have one of goalkeepers in the running for the USL Golden Glove, Joe Kuzminsky, who’s posted six clean sheets, making 27 saves. He came on with one save in the draw against the Hounds.
Like many of us, our contributor Mark Goodman, aka Riverhounds Rabbi, is looking forward to what should be a terrific match-up between two top-notch playoff caliber teams.
He’s provided an updated edition from his original Scouting Report on Charleston.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
“They’re tough to break down. They defend with 11, but they’re dangerous on the counter attack. They would leave two up and catch us two-v-two, so we need to be ready for the counter. They’re playing on their turf that they train on every week, so they’re going to be more comfortable on the ball than they were at our place. We need to be ready for the counter, we need to be ready to defend, but I think we need to turn them and put pressure on them as well,” Mike Anhaeuser, Charleston’s long-time coach, said.
“Hopefully the time off will leave us with some energy. It’s a big game on Saturday night,” Bob Lilley, Hounds coach said. “A dollar is a dollar. Three points is three points. I certainly would rather move them three points down in the standings than someone else lower.”
Riverhounds owner Tuffy Shallenberger was interviewed by WTAE’s Andrew Stockey earlier this week:
— Andrew Stockey (@astockeyWTAE) July 20, 2018
MORE ON #PGHvCHS
Charleston’s overall record: 8-3-8
Charleston’s road record: 2-2-5
Pittsburgh’s overall record: 9-1-7
Pittsburgh’s home record: 5-1-3
HOUNDS INJURY REPORT
Ben Zemanski – Questionable (Lower-body)
Kyle Morton – Out (Lower-body)
BATTERY INJURY REPORT
Jarad van Schaik— out
Skylar Thomas — out
Ian Svantesson — questionable
June 23, 2018, at MUSC Health Stadium
Pittsburgh 0, Charleston 0
July 26, 2017, at Highmark Stadium
Pittsburgh 2, Charleston 2
CHS – Miles Robinson 11’ (Justin Portillo)
PGH – Victor Souto 21’ (Romeo Parkes)
PGH – Corey Hertzog 62’ (Romeo Parkes)
CHS – Maikel Chang 84’ (Ataulla Guerra)
Goals: Neco Brett (8)
Assists: Kenardo Forbes and Kevin Kerr (4)
Points: Neco Brett (19)
Saves: Dan Lynd (28)
Save %: Dan Lynd (.800)
GAA: Dan Lynd (0.50)
Goals: Ataulla Guerra (10)
Assists: Jarad van Schalk and Gordon Wild (3)
Points: Ataulla Guerra (22)
Saves: Joe Kuzminsky (27)
Save %: Joe Kuzminsky (.730)
GAA: Joe Kuzminsky (0.77)
LAST TIME OUT…
Pittsburgh 1, Ottawa 0
PGH – Hugh Roberts 22’ (Todd Pratzner)
Dan Lynd – Andrew Lubahn, Hugh Roberts, Joe Greenspan, Todd Pratzner, Jordan Dover – Kenardo Forbes, Thomas Vancaeyezeele – Christiano François (Ray Lee 73’), Neco Brett (Mouhamed Dabo 73’) – Romeo Parkes (Dennis Chin 85’)
Charleston 2, Louisville 1
CHS – Ataulla Guerra 5’
CHS – Neveal Hackshaw 27’ (Gordon Wild)
LOU – Taylor Mueller 88’ (own goal)
Joe Kuzminsky – Jay Bolt, Neveal Hackshaw, Taylor Mueller, Leland Archer, O’Brian Woodbine – Kotaro Higashi (Victor Mansaray 90’+4), Tah Anunga, Angelo Kelly-Rosales, Gordon Wild (Nicholas Rittmeyer 68’) – Ataulla Guerra (Patrick Okonkwo 79’)