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FINAL: Riverhounds SC 0, Charlotte Independence 0

Photo courtesy Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC

FINAL: Riverhounds SC 0, Charlotte Independence 0

FINAL – Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC 0, Charlotte Independence 0

BOX SCORE/MATCH STATS

Recap

After more than an hour weather delay, then losing one of its top defenders for being sent off in the 36th minute, the Riverhounds SC pushed relentlessly for a go-ahead goal, but ultimately settled for a scoreless draw against Charlotte Independence at Highmark Stadium on Saturday. 

The first 24 minutes played out with Pittsburgh dominating in most areas. The Hounds out-possessed the Independence 59%-41%, posted 4-0 (1-0 on target) shots and 7-0 crosses advantages, and were knocking on the door numerous times.

Then the sky darkened, lightning struck and then the hard rain followed. The teams would have to sit through a one-hour and twenty five minute weather delay. For the Hounds, it was the second consecutive week they’ve sat through a long delay.  

This time around, they actually completed a match that didn’t go according to plan for the Hounds.

“It’s a credit to the players, they were very good at the beginning of the game. We try to stay prepared in these delays, we had Memphis and never had a chance to go back,” Bob Lilley, Riverhounds head coach, said. “Typically that’s the mentality you want from your players.”

LIlley came out with a familiar formation (5-4-1), but always looking to come up with tactical adjustments, tweaked things a bit. He moved Greenspan into the middle of the back line, with Thomas Vancaeyezeele to his right, and Tobi Adewole to his left.

“In wide areas, they are much more explosive in one-v-one areas. Very good servers of the ball, to keep Joe a little more central for those header moments, although they didn’t generate a lot today. Also, to cover out flank areas, that’s a little bit more Thomas’ and Tobi’s alley,” Lilley explained after the match.

Ten minutes after the match resumed, Hounds center back Joe Greenspan was sent off in the 36th minute after a second yellow card, when he slipped at midfield — then had an intentional handball to prevent a Charlotte breakaway. 

A closer look at the game’s final result, conventional wisdom might be that the Hounds would have been content to sit back after Greenspan was sent off.

“It is not easy when you go a man down especially when it is Joe. He is so keen on the backline,” Vancaeyezeele said “I feel like the energy of the team went up and stayed focused on the ball. We had a lot of energy because we were pressing super high. I felt like we didn’t feel like we were a man down. We had a lot of chances and opportunities to score. I think we should have won the game. I think it is still a decent result to tie the game.”

To Vancaeyezeele’s point, the Hounds brought continued pressure, ending the match with significant edges in crosses (17-7), corners (11-3) and shots (15-6, 3-1 on target).

Kenardo Forbes dropped deeper, and for stretches, dropped into the middle of the back line, while the Hounds asked three midfielders to cover a lot of space.

But the veteran midfielder, along with Kevin Kerr and Robbie Mertz, were instrumental in keeping numerous possessions going.

“We asked the midfielders to cover a lot of ground — and to their credit — they kept playing hard, kept possessions and were on the front foot,” Lilley said,as the Hounds morphed into a proactive 5-3-1 for the remainder of the match.

The hosts continued to push the envelope despite playing a man down as efforts by Forbes (a few dangerous free kicks including one in the 48th minute that nearly went in) and substitute Steevan Dos Santos were both saved by the 18-year-old Charlotte keeper Curtis Anderson, who kept his first clean sheet of the season in the draw.

As the match approached the 90th minute, outside back Jordan Dover took a boot in the head from Charlotte’s forward Niki Jackson.  Dover remained on the ground as he needed medical attention, and eventually came off the field on his own, but was walking gingerly. Uchenna Uzo replaced Dover.

In the closing seconds of stoppage time, the Hounds earned a corner kick opportunity. Robbie Mertz took the honors, but lofted a ball just over the head of Ryan James and it sailed out of play right before the final whistle.

It was the Riverhounds SC’s (2-1-6, 12 points) sixth draw of the season.

When asked  in the post-game meet-up with the media, if he would look at this as a moral victory for the Hounds, Lilley elaborated on his team’s valiant effort, but didn’t mince his words.

“I think they’ll probably be disappointed. I’m only disappointed because I thought we did enough that we could have won tonight. I’m certainly not disappointed in how we played or the effort of the guys,” Lilley added. “It’s not morals, it’s progress.”

Riverhounds SC takes on Indy Eleven in Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup play at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at Highmark Stadium.

Look for more post-game analysis, player grades and more on Sunday and Monday here on Pittsburgh Soccer Now. 

Gameday Updates

10:08 – FINAL – 0-0

That’s it! Whistle blows!
After 1+hr weather delay, and watching Joe Greenspan get sent off after, @RiverhoundsSC stay on front foot throughout match, but end up playing @Independence to a scoreless draw (sixth of season!).

10:05 – four minutes of stoppage time added.

10:05 – Charlotte’s Niki Jackson issued a yellow card for the knock to Dover, who’s coming off the field but looks pretty groggy. Uchenna Uzo is going to come in for Dover. 90′

10:01 – Jordan Dover defending in box takes a kick to head and is down. Training staff rushes out to the field immediately.

9:57 – 85′ – Vancaeyezeele feeds Dos Santos to the right side of box — and the big guy fires a rocket but Anderson with the save!!

9:54 – 81′ –

Ohhhh so close!
Forbes corner finds Dos Santos in crowd by far post -but header juuuuust goes over the bar.

9:49 – 76′ – Pittsburgh subs:

Anthony Velarde and Steevan Dos Santos IN

Kevin Kerr and Neco Brett OUT

9:46 – 73′ – Charlotte sub: Jorge Herrera IN. Zyen Jones OUT

9:44 – Martinez gets a clear opening from 30 yds — and sends it right at Pack. Save for the Hounds keeper. 70′

9:44 -All that energy Hounds had in first 10 mins of 2nd half has dissipated a bit. They’ve been sitting back a bit more.

Still have all three subs. 

9:39 – 66′ – Hounds Ryan James comes up awfully high to try to win ball just on edge of box, and now Charlotte with free kick from 20 yards…

Martinez just misses — goes left of post. Corner that follows — Hounds clear.

9:35 – Joel Johnson with prime chance on edge of box with all kinds of time and room for Charlotte but tries to get fancy, and chip it over Pack, but it goes over bar.

9:32 – another pair of corners for Pittsburgh — but again ending with Ryan James shot over bar that was deflected. Third corner cleared away.

9:29 – another free kick — Forbes finds Adewole but header goes wide.

9:24 – Hounds with pair of corners — bringing everyone — but to no avail.

9:22 – Free kick for Forbes afte Brett is fouled about 23 yards out.

And it’s saved by Curtis Anderson!

 

9:19 – second half has started

9:19 – Key Halftime stats:

9:02 – HALFTIME – remains scoreless.

8:54 – after Charlotte free kick blocked, Hounds get into box — Dover this time shot completely off target.

 

8:52 – YELLOW CARD – Greenspan booked again!!!

Double yellow — that means he’s being sent off. He slipped at midfield — then handball to prevent attacker from getting solid touch.

now playing down a man 37′ 0-0

8:43 – YELLOW CARD – Joe Greenspan

The Hounds big center back knocks Enzo Martinez to the ground after the midfielder makes a quick move after receiving ball.

8:39 – Play has resumed!

8:33 – the game is set to resume at 8:39 p.m. (in the 24th minute of the match)

8:25 –

8:15 – announcement that players will be back on field at 8:22, and fans permitted to return to seats then too.

8:09 – still under delay, but skies are clearing.

7:39 – some key stats thus far after 24 minutes as I am sure you can tell which has been the better team.

  • Possession:  PGH (59%) / CLT (41%)
  • Shots: PGH 4-0, 1-0 on target
  • Passing Accuracy:  PGH 76%, CLT 67%
  • Crosses 7-0

7:33 – WEATHER DELAY! 24′

7:27 – quick restart by Forbes leads to Dover getting forward and into box, but cross attempt blocked. Sets up second Hounds corner which was cleared away by former Hound Hugh Roberts

20′

7:22 – another decent build-up — Forbes stopped as he gets into box but ball comes out to Dover who sends rolling shot just wide of right post.  14′

7:16 – Hounds with lot of patience, knocking it around, then Kerr and Forbes play it back and forth and Kerr leads Volesky with nice ball but it deflects off heel of defender 9′

7:10 – Interesting adjustment to Hounds back line tonight. Joe Greenspan anchoring in the middle with Adewole to left, and Vancaeyezeele on right.

7:08 pm – game has kicked off

6:56 pm – Bit cloudy in distance, but looks like storms are holding off, for now.

6:30 pm

RIVERHOUNDS SC STARTING IX

GK – Austin Pack

D – Joe Greenspan, Tobi Adewole, Thomas Vancaeyezeele, Jordan Dover, Ryan James

MF – Kevin Kerr, Kenardo Forbes, Robbie Mertz, Neco Brett

F – Christian Volesky

Available reserves: 

Kyle Morton (G), Unchenna Uzo, Dani Rovira, Sammy Kahsai, Anthony Velarde, Noah Franke, Steevan Dos Santos

Starting line-ups will be posted here at approximately 6:30 p.m.

Charlotte’s Starting XI

GK – Curtis Anderson

D – Hugh Roberts, Steven Trirot, Andrew Gutman, Aaron Macind,

MF – Maria Michel, Enzo Martinez, Joel Johnson, Afrim Taku,

F – Dom Oduro, Zyen Jones

Available reserves:

GK – Brandon Miller, Najam Hassan, Jake Areman, Kevan George, Abdoule Mansally, Niki Jackson, Jorge Herrera

 

Soccer Scribe’s projected Hounds Starting XI: 

GK – Austin Pack

D – Joe Greenspan, Tobi Adewole, Thomas Vancaeyezeele, Jordan Dover, Ryan James

MF – Kevin Kerr, Kenardo Forbes, Robbie Mertz, Christian Volesky

F – Steevan Dos Santos

Hounds Injury Report

  • Mouhamed Dabo – Out (hamstring)
  • Prosper Figbe – Out (knee)
  • Ben Lundgaard – Questionable (back)
  • Caleb Smith – Out (groin)

Soccer Rabbi’s Game Preview and Charlotte Scouting Report 

Game Details:

Saturday, May 25 | 7 p.m.
Highmark Stadium
Streaming: ESPN+
Live Statistics: USL Championship Match Center
Live Updates: Twitter at @pghsoccerscribe and #PITvCLT

Riverhounds SC Media Game Notes

Riverhounds coverage this week on PSN

Hugh Roberts excited to return to Pittsburgh to battle with former teammates

View From The Booth: Embracing the Hounds’ stage

New abandoned match rules worked against Hounds on Saturday in Memphis

 

More on PITvCLT  

 

 

John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets including Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, DK Pittsburgh Sports, Pittsburgh Sports Report, and more. 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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