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Brett’s brace leads Hounds to bounce back, 3-0 win over Richmond

Brett’s brace leads Hounds to bounce back, 3-0 win over Richmond

Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC  3, Richmond Kickers 0

USL Game Center

Box Score 

Brett scores twice as Hounds snap two game skid

Neco Brett made a triumphant return to the line-up, helping lead the Riverhounds SC to a 3-0 bounce back victory over Richmond on Wednesday night at Highmark Stadium.

The Hounds leading scorer added two more goals to his team leading total of 10 tallies, while Ben Fitzpatrick added a goal in the 81st minute for his first goal with Pittsburgh.

With the win the Hounds improve to 10-3-7, good for 37 points, ending a two-game skid.

“I don’t think we were waiting for anything to happen,” Hounds coach Bob Lilley said. “We played with intent tonight, and we got rewarded.”

The Riverhounds didn’t waste any time in this match, taking an early lead in the 5th minute on Neco Brett‘s quick reaction to Richmond defender Conor Shanosky‘s misplayed header attempt on a ball in from Mouhamed Dabo.  After coming off the wrong side of Shanosky’s head, the ball bounced toward Richmond goal, with Brett swooped in to take a touch, then delivered a clinical finish into the left side of the goal, beating Kickers goalkeeper Trevor Spangenberg in the process.

The Hounds kept pressing high and pushing for the second goal with plenty of opportunities throughout despite physical play on both sides that accounted for numerous fouls and an uncharacteristic three yellow cards for the home side.

The Hounds, coming out in a 4-2-3-1 formation, were on the front foot for numerous stretches of the first half, finishing with six total shots, with four on target.  Despite a decided edge in possession (60-40) and earning two close range free kicks and three corners, Richmond couldn’t put any shots on target until late in the second half.

Making a rare start as a wide right attacking midfielder, Noah Franke unleashed a few shots from just outside the right side of the box that nearly connected in the 16th and 21st minutes.

“It was great to see that type of performance from Noah [Franke]. He had some moments earlier in the season and he’s a lively player,” Lilley said. “I thought he defended well tonight for the most part as well.”

Franke was joined by Christiano François on the left side, with the versatile Thomas Vancaeyezeele in the middle of the attacking trio, with Brett at the top of the attack.

François, who scored in the previous game, came close in the 12th minute, breaking free down the left side and shot was right at Spangenberg.

The trio was supported by holding midfield combination of Ben Zemanski and Mouhamed Dabo, and a more traditional back four featuring Hugh Roberts and Todd Pratzner at center back and Andy Lubahn and Jordan Dover in the outside back spots.

The only achilles heel for the Hounds despite a high press that was effectively rattling Richmond’s efforts to play the ball out of the back, was inability to connect passes with efficiency in the first half.

“For me it wasn’t a great first half performance,” Lilley added. “Yeah, we got a goal, and we had a our chances, but we couldn’t string four passes together.”

Finally, when they did finally strung together a few nice passes, they were rewarded a goal that secured a commanding lead.

In the 62nd minute, and holding on to a 1-0 lead, Lilley brought in center back Joe Greenspan and midfielder Kenardo Forbes.

These changes prompted some tactical changes, putting the Hounds in a 5-4-1 (or 3-4-3) depending on how you look at it.

This put Forbes into a play making role, setting the stage for him to pick up a pair of assists.

It was Brett who was on the end of his second goal of the match in the 69th minute after a nice build up that came from passes from Christiano François and then Forbes.

“I knew when Kenardo got the ball, I knew he was going to make a forward pass,” Brett said. “He played a really, really good ball to my right foot. The defender stopped, and I decided to shoot.”

Brett, who hadn’t scored since early June and missed the last match, felt it was just a matter of time before he would break through, but was just happy with the result.

“I was only a part of it,” Brett added.“We needed this win, and I was the only forward up top. It was extremely important to get back on the scoring sheet.”

With the 2-0 lead, things really opened up with Richmond pressing forward.

Forbes again got into the act by finding a player who just entered the match, Fitzpatrick, who was breaking down the left side.

Only moments before, Fitzpatrick entered the match for his first game action of the season.

The second year Hound had to battle his way to get back on into the game day line up card after an early season hamstring injury, made the most of his chance.

“My job coming in with about 15 minutes left was to work my tail off. Christiano and Noah on the flanks were running their outside backs ramped. I knew if I just kept getting some runs in behind, a player like Kenny with his quality is going to play me the ball.”

With the victory, Pittsburgh sweeps the season series (2-0-0) against Richmond and for the moment, moves back into third place, past Louisville City in USL’s Eastern Conference standings.

“After dropping two games there was a certain amount of expectation and pressure on this game,” Lilley said. “I think for the most part they handled it well.”

Up Next

Riverhounds SC will stay in Pittsburgh for a weekend showdown against Toronto FC II (1-15-3) at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Highmark Stadium. The Black and Gold defeated Toronto in two earlier meetings this season.

99th Minute

  • With Neco Brett’s goal in the 5th minute, it marks the first time a Pittsburgh forward has scored in a match since its June 16 meeting against New York Red Bulls II.
  • Only 9.7 percent of the first half was possessed in the Hounds’ defensive third whereas 43.4 percent of the first-45 minutes was possessed in the Hounds’ attacking third.
  • For the first time this season, the Hounds scored from outside the penalty box, as both of Brett’s shots came from just behind the 18 yard mark.
  • Defender Hugh Roberts tied for the club lead in tackles (four), interceptions (three) and blocks (two). He also led the team with six clearances.

Lineups:

Riverhounds SC – Dan Lynd –  Andrew Lubahn (Joe Greenspan 65’), Todd Pratzner, Hugh Roberts, Jordan Dover, Noah Franke – Mohamed Dabo, Thomas Vancaeyezeele, Ben Zemanski (Kenardo Forbes 65’) – Christiano François (Ben Fitzpatrick 77’), – Neco Brett

Subs not used: Mike Kirk, Ray Lee, Kevin Kerr, Kenardo Forbes, Kay Banjo

Richmond Kickers – Trevor Spangenberg –  Austin Yearwood, Mekeil Williams, Connor Shanosky – Matthew Bolduc, Raul Gonzalez, Braeden Troyer, Fred Owusu Sekyere (Heviel Cordovés 70’), Neil Hlavaty (Brandon Eaton 75’) –  Giuseppe Gentile (Luiz Fernando 83’), Brian Shriver

Subs not used: Travis Worra, Scott Thomsen, Greg Boehme, Yudai Imura

Scoring Summary:

Neco Brett 5’

Neco Brett 69’ (Kenardo Forbes)

Ben Fitzpatrick 81’ (Kenardo Forbes)

Misconduct Summary:

PGH – Ben Zemanski 42’ (caution)

PGH – Andrew Lubahn 49’ (caution)

PGH – Todd Pratzner 58’ (caution)

RCH – Matthew Bolduc 62’ (caution)

RCH – Mekeil Williams 84’ (caution)

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).

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