From Riverhounds SC / USL reports
Riverhounds SC (9-3-7) fell to North Carolina FC (7-8-5), 2-1, on Saturday at WakeMed Soccer Park.
Battling back in the second half with a goal from Christiano François, the Hounds saw one point slip away in second-half stoppage time, as North Carolina FC’s Wuilito Fernandes netted the game-winning tally. This marks the first time this season Pittsburgh has lost two straight games.
How It Happened
After a lackluster first half, the Hounds dominated the second half of play.
Trailing North Carolina FC by a goal at the time, Pittsburgh notched the equalizer in the 57th minute. In the attacking third, Kay Banjo sent a pass out wide to Christiano François, who sprinted into the right side of the penalty area once gaining possession. Blasting a rocket of a shot far post, François beat goalkeeper Alex Tambakis to knot the score at 1-1.
— Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC (@RiverhoundsSC) July 29, 2018
The final score seemed destined to stick at 1-1 until North Carolina FC potted the game-winning goal in second-half stoppage time. Taking a free kick just outside the penalty area, midfielder Steven Miller sent in a ball, which was punched away by Pittsburgh goalkeeper Dan Lynd. Although cleared away from the goalmouth, the ball landed at the feet of second-half substitute Wuilito Fernandes, who shot the ball through traffic into the back of the net to provide North Carolina FC with a 2-1 victory.
— USL (@USL) July 29, 2018
This goal counteracted a strong second half of play for the Hounds, which posted all four of their shots on goal and five of their six corner kicks in the second stanza.
Unlike the latter 45 minutes, the Hounds could not build momentum on the road in the first half.
For the first tally of the match, North Carolina FC capitalized on a Hounds mistake. As Pittsburgh passed the ball out of bounds near midfield, the USL newcomer quickly took the throw-in, which landed at the feet of Kyle Bekker down the left side of the pitch. On the break, Bekker sent a ball into Daniel Ríos, who broke free in the center of the penalty box. The striker’s right-footed take beat Lynd to put North Carolina FC ahead, 1-0.
During the first-45 minutes, North Carolina out shot Pittsburgh, 6-2, and owned the bulk of the game flow with 59.4 percent possession. The Hounds did not record a shot on goal in the first half.
Stat of the Game
After conceding the shot battle, 6-2 in the first half, the Hounds flipped the script in the second half and outshot their opponent, 8-3.
Beyond the Box Score
* As Neco Brett did not appear in tonight’s match due to a neck injury, it leaves Thomas Vancaeyezeele as the only remaining athlete to play in every match this season for the Hounds.
* Subbing in for Romeo Parkes in the 31st minute, Kay Banjo set a single-season high with 59 minutes played. His previous single-game high this year was 18 minutes.
* In addition to logging his most playing time this season, Banjo recorded his first point in 2018, assisting Christiano François’ goal.
* Defensively, Vancaeyezeele paced the Hounds with three interceptions and posted one of their two blocks during the match.
Riverhounds SC will return home on a short turnaround to clash with the Richmond Kickers (5-11-3) at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at Highmark Stadium. Pittsburgh won their first meeting, 2-1, earlier this season, and Wednesday’s match will mark Faith and Family Night, presented by Cornerstone Television and K-LOVE.
Riverhounds SC – Dan Lynd – Ray Lee (Andrew Lubahn 84’), Tobi Adewole, Joe Greenspan, Jordan Dover – Kenardo Forbes, Mouhamed Dabo, Thomas Vancaeyezeele, Kevin Kerr (Ben Zemanksi 63’) – Romeo Parkes (Kay Banjo 31’), Christiano François
Subs not used: Mike Kirk, Dennis Chin, Todd Pratzner, Hugh Roberts
North Carolina FC – Alex Tambakis – Aarón Guillén (Marcel Kandziora 74’), Michael Harrington, Connor Tobin, D.J. Taylor – Austin da Luz, Graham Smith – Tiyi Shipalane (Ulrich Ewolo 74’), Kyle Bekker (Wuilito Fernandes 84’), Steven Miller – Daniel Ríos
Subs not used: Austin Guerrero, Peabo Doue, Andre Fortune, Marios Lomis
NC – Daniel Ríos 24’ (Kyle Bekker)
PGH – Christiano François 57’ (Kay Banjo)
NC – Wuilito Fernandes 90’+1
NC – Aarón Guillén 42’ (caution)