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Pittsburgh Riverhounds

Hounds pull off dramatic late comeback to draw Louisville City, 2-2

Final:   Louisville City FC 2, Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC 2

USL Match Center

Box Score

In a battle of two of the top teams in the USL’s Eastern Conference, Riverhounds SC pulled off a dramatic come-from-behind effort with two late goals that erased a 2-0 deficit in the final five minutes.

Pittsburgh’s Joe Holland‘s 85th minute cross into the box cut the lead in half, then after Neco Brett was fouled in the box, Kenardo Forbes tied the contest with a penalty kick conversion in the 90th minute.

“We may not have responded immediately, but we did respond,” Bob Lilley, Riverhounds head coach said. “We did find that goal that gave us a chance at the end. It was important tonight to get at least a draw.”

The late rally kept the Hounds in second place in Eastern Conference standings, with 50 points, while Louisville City lost a chance to move past Pittsburgh, staying two point behind with 48 points.

The defending USL champs surged ahead of the Hounds with a 2-0 lead on opportunistic goals by Cameron Lancaster and Alexis Souahy — one in each half along with some spectacular saves by Greg Ranjitsingh that turned back a constant Riverhounds attack.

Holland, playing a bit out of position at left back, made a darting run into the box, then sent a ball into goal area.

The Louisville keeper, Ranjitsingh, who came up big numerous times earlier in the match, came off the line to play the ball and got crossed up with a defender, causing the ball to be deflected, ricocheting into the goal.

Holland sent the cross that found its way into the goal, but it would be an own goal credited to Ranjitsingh.

At the half, the Riverhounds were trailing despite dominating possession (60-40), corners (7-1), shots (9-1 and 3-1 on target) and chances.

Though they were outplayed for long stretches, Louisville came up with the spectacular efforts that proved to be the difference in the first 45 minutes.

In the 31st minute, Cameron Lancaster scored his league leading 19th goal of the season even with Hounds defender Tobi Adewole hanging all over.

Lancaster received a pass inside the box from Paco Craig. With his back to goal, turned to left — and put enough on his shot to sneak a low shot by the grasp of goalkeeper Dan Lynd.

Lilley wasn’t pleased with his team’s defensive lapses.

“For a guy to bring it down in the box, turn around and create enough space for a shot. We had balls rattling around in the box for three seconds, and couldn’t get a shot off,” Lilley said. “It was like a 1v1, and there was nobody else on the field. To me it was a disappointing goal to let up.”

The Hounds, for the second straight week began the game in a 3-1-4-2 formation with the same field players that started in a 4-1 win vs Bethlehem Steel FC last Friday, came up empty despite a numerous fantastic chances that were stopped cold by Ranjitsingh.

Romeo Parkes started off the Hounds push only thirty seconds into the match as he broke free along the left side, only to have Ranjitsingh stop the quick shot.

In the 18th minute, Forbes pounced on a poor pass between the Louisville back line, took the ball forward a few touches, then laid off a crisp diagonal ball that caught Brett in stride.

Brett took the ball around Ranjitsingh — and with an open goal the Hounds forward took a little too much time to get his right footed shot on frame. By the time he sent the ball on target, Louisville defender Paco Craig came in to clear Brett’s shot off the line.

Following Louisville City’s goal, the Hounds were robbed by Ranjitsingh again in the 34th minute.

This time when Parkes sent a ball into the center of the box for Brett, who’s header was turned away. Brett’s immediate rebound chance was blocked by his former Robert Morris University teammate Devon ‘Speedy’ Williams.

“I got like two or three chances I should have put away, ” Brett said. “Unfortunately I didn’t do it and that’s the reason why we had to take the hard way out.”

Louisville would take a 2-0 lead in the 70th minute on a sequence after a long ball in from midfield sideline.  Alexis Souahy was on receiving end of a double header to finish after the first redirected header from Paco Craig.

“Both goals were mistakes. We can’t stop every diagonal ball. You’re going to have balance on the back side. Even if they won the header, it’s not a goal scoring moment if our defenders in the middle react,” Lilley explained what transpired on that second goal. “Once it went diagonal, we had guys ball watching. You can’t beat on a double header from midfielder because we’re standing. This is self-inflicted.”

Even being dominated in most statistical categories in the match, Louisville took a two-goal lead in the late stages of the contest for a reason.

“Louisville showed their experience. They don’t need a lot. (They’re) similar to Cincinnati. They were able to manage the game pretty well,” Lilley said. “I don’t think we were outplayed tonight. We were a little more on top of them.”

Lilley substitutions included Christiano Francois in the 61st minute for Ben Zemanski, then Holland and Kay Banjo both came on in the 80th minute.

“We got some nice contributions from the guys that came in,” Lilley said. “It’s good to see them contributing. We’re not going to just win with one or two players. I’ve been saying that since the beginning of the season. I think we’re getting deeper. The response by Joe Holland, we brought him in the past two games. We know he’s talented. He was playing left back. He knew. He’s got to get into that space. He knew what I wanted because he’s a smart player. He knew what the score was. He puts in a dangerous ball. It’s a little thing, but he was ready. Good to know he’s there.”

The Hounds finished the match with decisive edges in numerous categories including: shots (20-3, 4-3 on target), corners (15-2), open play crosses (27-5) and possession (59-41).

More importantly, it was a valiant finish galvanized the more than 2,500 fans in attendance to the point where they had the grandstand seats shaking and kept the Hounds with leg up on Louisville, Charleston and other teams trying to push higher up in the race for second place.

“Every game now is going to be a battle,” Lilley said. “That tying goal may be the difference at the end of the season. It wasn’t a complete performance. Defensively, we played well, but made a couple big errors. Those errors we may not be able to get away with come playoff time. But I am delighted for the guys, because they’ve been working hard. We haven’t gotten bounces or stolen anything. If you’re down 2-0, in 84th minute, and your get two goals back, I told the guys keep this in the back of your head, because this is something that could happen when we’re up 2-0, that the game’s not over, until it’s over.”

Beyond the Box Score

  • Coming back from injury, goalkeeper Dan Lynd made his first start since the team’s 2-1 victory at Bethlehem Steel FC on Aug. 12.
  • Defender Joe Greenspan led the Hounds with eight clearances.
  • The Hounds held a 64 percent possession share during the match.
  • Pittsburgh set a season game-high with 15 corner kicks.

What’s Next
Riverhounds SC will complete a three-game home stand against Indy Eleven (12-8-9) at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 22 at Highmark Stadium. The match, the Hounds’ second-to-last home game of the season, will mark ‘90s Night.

Riverhounds SC – Dan Lynd – Ray Lee (Kay Banjo 80’), Tobi Adewole, Thomas Vancaeyezeele, Joe Greenspan (Joe Holland 80’), Jordan Dover – Ben Zemanski (Christiano François 61’), Mouhamed Dabo – Kenardo Forbes, Romeo Parkes – Neco Brett
Subs not used: Mike Kirk, Noah Franke, Andrew Lubahn, Hugh Roberts
Louisville City FC – Greg Ranjitsingh – Kyle Smith, Alexis Souahy, Paco Craig, Oscar Jimenez – Speedy Williams (Shaun Francis 63’), Paolo DelPiccolo – George Davis IV, Ilija Ilic (Jose Carranza 80’), Niall McCabe – Cameron Lancaster (Luke Spencer 90+2’)
Subs not used: Tim Dobrowolski, Richard Ballard, Pat McMahon, Sean Totsch
Scoring Summary:
LOU – Cameron Lancaster 31’ (Paco Craig)
LOU – Alexis Souahy 70’ (Paco Craig)
PGH – Greg Ranjitsingh 86’ (own goal)
PGH – Kenardo Forbes 90+1’ (penalty)
Misconduct Summary:
LOU – Cameron Lancaster 55’ (caution)
PGH – Joe Greenspan 69’ (caution)
LOU – Kyle Smith 90+4’ (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).

Riverhounds MF Danny Griffin

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