The Hounds turned a mediocre performance that looked destined for a disappointing defeat into a storming comeback at Highmark Stadium Saturday night, drawing Nashville SC 2-2.
A lively crowd in a steady drizzle of 2,826 came out to catch the game, but didn’t really have a chance to see much excitement from the Hounds until very late in the game. Nashville got the opening goal before the half, and added to it in the 67th minute. It wasn’t until the final minutes of the game that the Hounds found the back of the net, and when they got their first, they didn’t take long until they added a second that allowed the two teams to split the points.
Both teams had solid defensive efforts, as would be expected from a Bob Lilley-Gary Smith matchup. The match would ultimately be decided in the air, as all four goals came about by crosses, corner kicks, second balls, or headers.
Neither team was able to generate much through a closely guarded midfield. Long stretches of the first half featured passes across the backline, errant long balls up to runners on the wings, or balls turned over at midfield.
Nashville would get on the board first, with a headed goal just before the half on a corner kick that Ken Tribbett headed in. The Music City boys added a second on another corner that Bradley Bourgeois redirected home.
The Hounds two goals, coming in the 88th minute and in stoppage time, came on crosses. The first was a headed goal from Christian Volesky on a cross from Jordan Dover, the second came on a deflection from Ryan James from a lovely cross off the foot of Kevin Kerr. The goal would ultimately be ruled an own goal on Nashville, however.
Ryan James explained the sudden surge at the end of the game from the Riverhounds as the result of aggressive and desperate measures from the Hounds. “You’re down a goal, two goals, and you’ve got to gamble sometimes and just try to salvage some points. You’re always fighting for three points.”
James, the former Nashville SC player, credited his former team with making it very difficult for the Riverhounds throughout the match. “I think they have a solid defense. It’s not always easy to break down. Credit to their defense for keeping us out for so long.”
Riverhounds coach Bob Lilley was displeased with the offensive output of his team, and wasn’t shy about letting everybody know it. Lilley said, “I don’t think last week against Saint Louis we did enough, and it ended 0-0. Today, we were even more anemic.”
Nevertheless, he recognized that the team showed fight in coming back to draw it up. “I’m proud of them for battling to get a point.”
Lilley thinks his team is certainly capable of more, though. “It’s disappointing that on a three-game homestand we only got five points out of nine.”
James echoed those sentiments. “I’d like to think they everyone in the locker room isn’t satisfied.”
90 + 4′ – YELLOW CARD; Anthony Velarde
90 +2′ Kerr on a short corner gets a cross, this time from the left side, finds Joe Greenspan back post, but he puts it wide.
90′ – GOAL HOUNDS! Kerr on a long cross from the right side finds Ryan James at the back post; he squares the re-direction onto goal, a Nashville defender deflects it into the back of the net. Pittsburgh has crept back in and it’s 2-2. Officially it goes down as an own goal.
88′- GOAL HOUNDS! Christian Volesky redirects a long, low, 30 yard pass down the right side from Jordan Dover into goal and Pittsburgh only trails 2-1.
86′ – On an attack into the box the ball is cleared up into the air. Velarde got a head to it, it pings across the mouth of goal for Robbie Mertz, who takes a flying half-bike volley at it but shanks it high and over the net.
85′ – Ropapa Mensah on for Daniel Rios.
82′ – Hounds starting to press hard for a goal.
80′ – Robbie Mertz comes on for Tobi Adewole.
74′ – Two Subs for Nashville; Cameron Lancaster on for Kharlton Belmar and Justin Davis on for Taylor Washington.
67′ – GOAL, NASHVILLE. Off a corner, Brandon Bourgeois gets a second ball in the box and heads it in to give Nashville a 2-0 lead. Assist from Ken Tribbett
66′ – Christian Volesky comes on for Steevan Dos Santos.
64′ – Anthony Velarde comes on for Mohamed Dabo.
54′ – So far, nothing to report. A lot of head tennis, and Steevan Dos Santos absolutely trampled a dude underfoot while trying to get to a long ball over the top.
HT; 1-0 Nashville over Pittsburgh
41′ – Right after a kickoff and turnover, Kharlton Belmar gets loose on the left side of the goal and takes a shot, but skies it high. Hounds look a little bit shook and will need to regroup.
40′ – GOAL, NASHVILLE. Ken Tribbett deflects a ball right into goal on a corner, and it’s 1-0, Nashville
31′ – Steevan Dos Santos goes down as Nashville keep Connor Sparrow comes to the end of the 18-yard-box to clear and knocks the man down. Dos Santos recovers, but he’s been taking a beating tonight.
25′ – Corner kick for Nashville SC, but Ben Lungaard comes to claim it.
22′ – YELLOW CARD. Bradley Bourgeois trucks over Steevan Dos Santos and goes into referee Charles Murphy’s book.
21′ – Nashville’s first significant chance is a cross that is snuffed out, bounces around on the river-side of the field, and is turned over to the Hounds.
20′ – The ball is tending to stagnate around midfield for both teams. Circulate across the back line, move it to midfield, turn it over right at the entry-point to the final third. Rinse; repeat.
7′ – Joe Greenspan sends a 50-yard diagonal ball to the left side. Ryan James chases it down and swings in a one-touch cross to the back post for the first chance of the game for either side, but it’s too deep for Steevan Dos Santos
Kyle Morton; Ryan James, Tobi Adewole, Joe Greenspan, Jordan Dover; Thomas Vancaeyezeele, Mo Dabo, Kenny Forbes, Neco Brett, Kevin Kerr; Steevan Dos Santos
Connor Sparrow; Kosuke Kimura, Bradley Bourgeois, Ken Tribbett, Liam Doyle, Taylor Washington; Bolu Akinyode, Michael Reed, Matt Lagrassa; Kharlton Belmar, Daniel Rios