Through five previous matches this preseason, the Riverhounds SC faced college teams. On Sunday, in its first encounter against a pro side, the Hounds defeated cross-state USL foe Bethlehem Steel FC, 1-0, at Highmark Stadium.
It was newcomer, Christian Volesky who put the Hounds on the board in the 44th minute finishing off a textbook build-up of one-touch passes.
“I thought the two halves in Pitt we played good soccer. Today, I wasn’t thrilled with the first half,” head coach Bob Lilley said. “Today, the second half was good. I do feel like we’re making strides. We still have a lot of work to do.”
The Hounds struck first in the 44th minute. After consecutive passes strung together by the midfield, Kenardo Forbes found Neco Brett, who was playing an outside attacking midfield spot. Brett caught up to the ball by the end line, then delivered a one-time arching volley toward Volesky.
Volesky redirected his volley into the bottom-right corner of the net.
“Neco’s a forward, and he knows how another forward wants the ball,” Volesky, who was part of Lilley’s 2015 Rochester Rhinos USL Championship squad, said. I made a changing angle type of run, and he waited for me until the right time to send the ball. It was a good finish of good team play. It was nice to get one in the back of the net. It was fun.”
In addition, playing in a holding midfield spot along side Thomas Vancaeyezeele, Forbes had another couple attempts at the net in the first half. The midfielder just missed on a header stemming from a corner kick as well as a rebound off of a blocked shot.
There was also a moment about 15 minutes into the match where Forbes exchanged some heated words with Steel FC veteran James Chambers after a hard foul as the two team leaders picked up where they left off after last season’s intense playoff match last November when Steel FC came away from Highmark Stadium with a win in a match that went to penalty kicks.
Throughout the second half, the Hounds kept possession and both teams had few offensive opportunities.
Riverhounds SC will next play the University of Akron at 3 p.m. on Friday at Highmark Stadium. All games at Highmark Stadium are free to attend for the public.
Editors Note: Mark Goodman and I will have more coverage including more from Volesky, the Hounds goalkeeper situation and our weekly preseason notebook in the coming days.
First half– Ben Lundgaard – Caleb Smith, Tobi Adewole, Jordan Skelton, Jordan Dover – Thomas Vancaeyezeele, Kenardo Forbes – Neco Brett, Nazeem Bartman, Devyn Jambga – Christian Volesky
Second half– Kyle Morton – Ryan James, Uchenna Uzo, Daniel Mukuna, Dani Rovira – Mouhamed Dabo, Sammy Kahsai – Mathias Vidangossy, Anthony Velarde, Noah Franke – Steevan Dos Santos
PIT – Christian Volesky 44’ (Neco Brett)