Riverhounds SC vs Indy Eleven (U.S. Open Cup: 3rd Round)
When playing in a one-and-done tournament like the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, all that matters for each club is to survive and advance to the next round.
Nobody knows that better than Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC’s veteran head coach, Bob Lilley and one of his most trusted players, Kenardo Forbes.
While Lilley’s Hounds struggled to create many scoring opportunities for much of its 3rd Round Open Cup match against USL Championship foe Indy Eleven, all they needed was one opportunistic moment to pull out a 1-0 win at Highmark Stadium on Wednesday night.
“I like that we dug in a little bit in the second half and at least got in the game,” Lilley said. “In the first half, I don’t think we had a shot on goal. We had two long range efforts by Neco (Brett), but nothing in the box.”
With a scoreless match hanging in the balance, Lilley found salvation from a player that’s been the field general for his teams since 2015, when they were in Rochester together.
Lilley turned to Forbes as his first substitute in a match that was in danger going to extra time.
Four minutes after entering the match, the 31-year old Jamaican midfielder received a pass from Noah Franke, who broke toward the box from the right side, drawing a trio of Indy Eleven defenders, then found his veteran teammate in a wide open space to his left.
With plenty of room and space to work, Forbes drilled a shot into the lower left side of goal in the 85th minute to deliver some Open Cup magic that turned out to be the game-deciding strike.
Kenardo Forbes puts the @RiverhoundsSC up 1-0 late in the 2nd half!💥
— U.S. Open Cup (@opencup) May 30, 2019
“You know it was open, like 10 yards open, like 20 yards out, so I had to shoot it,” Forbes said, as he provided a simple explanation.
On the other side, Indy had its share of chances, and failed to capitalize.
At the center of many of its best chances, was Eleven forward Thomas Enevoldsen — who was denied twice by diving saves from Riverhounds keeper Kyle Morton, who earned the clean sheet for the Hounds, finishing the night with five saves.
The Hounds changed things up tactically, slightly from what they’ve doing for most of this year, opting to come out in a 5-3-2 formation intended to press Indy’s possession efforts.
In the first half, Indy had its way in this chess match, keeping the ball at a 63 percent rate, with the only two shots on target, the only three corners and attempting a hundred more passes than the Hounds.
The first dazzling save came in the 41st minute, when the Danish striker waiting just outside the center of the Pittsburgh 18-yard box. Enevoldsen would strike first time, unleashing a right footed effort that would have found the upper left 90 – if not for the outstretched paw of Morton.
“It’s just one of those things you gotta shuffle over make sure you kind of have your part of the hole covered right,” Morton said after the match.
Then in the 50th minute, Enevoldsen struck a shot from outside the box. The driven shot resulted another top-notch stop by Morton. Former Riverhound, Tyler Pasher nearly redirected the rebound into net.
To that point, the Hounds couldn’t muster a shot on frame.
Then, they started to bring a bit more energy and finally began to disrupt Indy’s ability to possess the ball out of the back, which they seemed to be doing with ease for most of the first 55 minutes.
Brett finally earned the Hounds’ first shot on target of the night in the 59th minute after taking advantage of an Indy give-away.
The striker sent a low blast at the cage, which was corralled by Indy’s goalkeeper Jordan Farr.
In the 71st minute, Thomas Vancaeyezeele sent in a cross to Anthony Velarde, who was sitting right in the center of the box. The first-year pro opted not to shoot, but then dumped it off to Sammy Kahsai.
Kahsai took a rip, then the ball stayed in the air, redirected by both Brett and Ryan James, who dropped a header into the waiting hands of Farr.
As the match entered the final ten minutes of regulation, both teams subbed on All-USL veterans. Indy brought on the USL’s all-time leading scorer Dane Kelly in the 73rd minute.
While it was Forbes who found the game-winner after coming on for Kahsai in the 81st minute, a 20-goal scorer in USL a season ago, Enevoldsen had yet another shot at redemption in the 88th minute after midfielder Kenney Walker played in a header that found the Danish forward wide open at the back post.
With a chance to slide the shot inside the near post, Enevoldsen instead tried to sneak it under Morton to the right side, and the ball dribbled wide of the post.
The Hounds held on, and earned an opportunity to take on an MLS club for the first time since 2015, even if it wasn’t exactly what Lilley drew up.
“Second half at least we made runs in behind them. We did press at times and we put some balls in good areas,” Lilley explained. “But we didn’t execute well.”
Forbes though, made the most of his chance in a rare opportunity to come on as a sub to help his team out when they weren’t playing its best.
“For the first time in a while, I got on the field when a couple of guys are tired, advantage for me, so I take advantage of it,” Forbes said. “It was good even though we made a couple errors in the back. It was just one of those games.”
For the second time in five years the Hounds have now advanced to the Open Cup’s 4th Round, as the last time the Hounds advanced this far, they beat the Tampa Bay Rowdies on a late regulation strike from Rob Vincent that proved to be the difference in 2015.
On Thursday morning, Pittsburgh will find out its next opponent (a Major League Soccer club that will enter the tournament at this stage, at a site and date, most likely June 11 or 12, to be determined).
While the two sides take different paths in this tournament, with Pittsburgh getting an additional shot at Open Cup glory, the clubs are just getting started with each other, as they’ll meet again in a USL Championship match on Saturday, and again later this season.
“The game is about scoring goals.” Indy Eleven Head Coach Martin Rennie. “Tonight we hardly gave up any chances and ended up with a defeat. In the first half we actually played really well. We were in complete control of the game and passed the ball well and again had a couple of decent chances,” said Indy Eleven Head Coach Martin Rennie. “We have to take those, because, if you don’t, the game stays tight and there’s the chance that if you don’t take the next one, or the next one, or the next one then the other team might get one, and that’s what happened tonight.”
Riverhounds SC – Kyle Morton – Ryan James, Uchenna Uzo, Joe Greenspan, Tobi Adewole, Noah Franke – Thomas Vancaeyezeele, Sammy Kahsai (Kenardo Forbes 80’) , Anthony Velarde (Robbie Mertz 82’) – Neco Brett (Dani Rovira 87’), Steevan Dos Santos
Subs not used – Austin Pack, Mark Forrest, Kevin Kerr, Christian Volesky
Indy Eleven – Jordan Farr – Matthew Watson, Neveal Hackshaw, Karl Ouimette – Patrick Barrett, Macauley King, Kenneth Walker, Tyler Gibson – Tyler Pasher, Thomas Enevoldsen, Joshua Penn (Dane Kelly 72’)
Subs not used – Alioune Diakhate, Ayoze Garcia Perez, Emerson Nieto, Mitchell Osmond, Mario Perez
PIT – Kenardo Forbes 85’ (Noah Franke)
PIT – Ryan James 43’ (caution)
PIT – Joe Greenspan 74’ (caution)
Open Cup Photo Gallery (all photos courtesy of Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC)
"We haven't seen the Hounds live dangerously under Bob Lilley too much."@RiverhoundsSC survived the razor's edge in another @opencup win, setting up their first MLS showdown since '15.@PghSoccerScribe & @MattyIcePGH joined me on #PghPostgame!
— Matt Gajtka (@MattGajtka) May 30, 2019
Join John Krysinsky and Matt Gajtka for live post-game reaction podcast from Highmark Stadium (10 p.m. EST).
— John Krysinsky (@PghSoccerScribe) May 30, 2019
9:38 – FINAL – Riverhounds win 1-0!
The Hounds advance to the 4th Round of the U.S. Open Cup — as Kenardo Forbes’ goal in the 85th minute was the difference. The drawing for next round will be Thursday morning at 11 a.m.
We’ll have plenty of post game reaction and recaps to follow.
9:33 – 88′ – Missed chance for Indy!
Ennevoldsen ends up with ball at back post but shot misses wide right! Another bullet dodged by Pittsburgh!
9:29 -85′ – GOAL – Riverhounds
Steps into it from 26 yards.
9:26 – Robbie Mertz now comes in form
9:23 – first Hounds sub. Kenardo Forbes in. Sammy Kahsai out.
9:18 – YELLOW CARD – Joe Greenspan
Indy with Free kick from dangerous spot.
Kick comes off way — redirected shot nearly gets in there, but sails wide left.
9:14 – 72′ –
9:11 – 69′ – Dos Santos just makes something out of nothing to force a corner.
9:04 – 60′ – chance for Indy — ball played in nicely into the edge of the six for Joshua Penn but can’t connect.
8:55 – Ennevoldsen forces Morton to make diving save! 50′
8:50 – second half starts
8:37 – some key Halftime stats:
- Shots 3-3 (on target: Indy 2-0)
- Possession: Indy 63%/Pgh 37%
- Corners: Indy 3-0
- Passes: Indy 291-178
- Passing accuracy: Indy 78%-Pgh 66%
8:33 – HALFTIME – Hounds 0, Indy Eleven 0
8:31 – as Indy lines up a free kick, a pretty nice little pushing match going on between Uchenna Uzo and Neveal Hackshaw. Ref has few words with them. Free kick was uneventful as Indy tried going back post, but it was cleared. 45′
8:29 – Yellow card to Ryan James.
8:27 – Indy just picked apart the Hounds high press — and methodically built up possession to box. Nice shot by Ennevoldsen forces Morton to make diving save!
8:23 – Patrick Barrett with some nifty moves — gets inside the edge of 18 on right side — and sends shot right at Hounds GK Kyle Morton. 37′
8:11 – after dangerous near post lining corner, the Hounds get forward quickly. Franke gets into box, but boxed out of the way by defender to deny any move inside. 26′
8:03 – Neco Brett with decent chance from the left side. Misses just left of post. 15′
7:55 – Walker kicked in the center circle by Vancaeyezeele (gonna need a nickname for him, folks) and the foul whistled. Walker thought maybe some studs were showing, but no yellow is out.
7:50 – after weather delay to start the match, the teams have kicked off
Riverhounds SC Starting XI
GK – Kyle Morton
D – Uchenna Uzo, Joe Greenspan, Tobi Adewole, Noah Franke, Ryan James
MF – Sammy Kahsai, Thomas Vancaeyezeele, Anthony Velarde,
F – Steevan Dos Santos, Christian Volesky
Allegheny County is currently under a Flood Watch. That in itself shouldn’t affect the game, as Station Square (South Shore) generally doesn’t get affected by any flooding. However, the forecast does include storms in the late afternoon, and potential of scattered and isolated thunderstorms around the scheduled start of game time.
Highmark Stadium | 7:05 p.m.
US Open Stats: Tracker on Google
Follow on Twitter: @mattgajtka @MattyIcePGH @pghsoccerscribe #PITvIND #USOC2019
for the latest on the U.S. Open Cup visit https://thecup.us/
Soccer Rabbi’s Preview & Scouting Report
Mark Goodman in rare form — providing a preview and scouting report as only he can…
Soccer Scribe’s projected Hounds Starting XI
GK – Kyle Morton
D – Uchenna Uzo, Joe Greenspan, Tobi Adewole, Noah Franke, Dani Rovira
MF – Sammy Kahsai, Thomas Vancaeyezeele, Anthony Velarde, Robbie Mertz
F – Steevan Dos Santos
More on #PITvIND
GAMEDAY, OPEN CUP STYLE!
How to make the most of your gameday:
1. Procure ticket
2. Bring a few beverages for the parking lot
3. Have your voice well rested
4. Do not look at the weather forecast
5. Wreck your voice over two (to three?) hours#UNLEASH
— Steel Army (@SteelArmy) May 29, 2019
- Indy Eleven is off to a strong start this year. In USL Championship action, the Eleven is holding their own as they have not lost in May (1-0-3).
- As for Open Cup action, Indy played well in the second round having beat Lansing Ignite FC, 1-0, at the Sellick Bowl despite playing down a man for more than half of the game due to a red card on goalkeeper Evan Newton.
- In the off season, Indy made numerous acquisitions that caught a lot of attention, especially in picking up players with impressive scoring pedigree in USL. With more than 70 regular season goals, Indy’s Dane Kelly is the all-time leading scorer in the USL Championship.
- The Hounds began its Open Cup quest two weeks ago with a 3-0 defeat of Dayton Dutch Lions at Highmark Stadium. The Hounds have not advanced to the Open Cup’s 4th round since 2015, when they faced D.C. United at Highmark Stadium that June.
Pittsburgh soccer & The Open Cup
This year marks the 106th consecutive year the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup will crown a champion, making it the longest continuously running soccer tournament in the United States.
The tournament, re-named in honor of American sports pioneer Lamar Hunt in 1999, is U.S. Soccer’s national championship tournament and open to all professional and amateur teams annually.
Over the years, many clubs, both amateur and now professionally, from Pittsburgh have competed in the Open Cup.
Today in @USOpenCup history…#OTD 1949: In Leg 2 of the Final, Morgan Strasser (#Pittsburgh) defeats the #Philadelphia Nationals 4-2, winning the cup 4-3 on aggregate. The 1949 Final marked the first of only two times that Pennsylvania clubs would meet in the title game. pic.twitter.com/zrdNNkju5E
— TheCup.us (@usopencup) May 29, 2019