The Pittsburgh Riverhounds are going to see a lot of Indy Eleven this week as they played host Wednesday night in the 3rd round of the U.S Open Cup and will travel to Indianapolis Saturday night for a USL Championship League match.
But, first Wednesday night the Riverhounds were looking to advance to the 4th round of the U.S Open Cup and things were not looking so great in the 1st half, but Kyle Morton bailed Pittsburgh out in net with multiple great saves to cover up for some sloppy play in front of him.
“We’re going to have to play a lot better than we did tonight if we want to win in Indy on Saturday,” said Head Coach Bob Lilley. “Both teams will put some fresh guys on the field, some guys will play again, but I would expect a much better game from both teams on Saturday (and) if anyone wants to win the game the levels going to have to go up than what we saw tonight.”
Morton made five saves. Each half he came up with a dazzling stop that kept the match scoreless until the Riverhounds settled down and began to put more pressure on Indy Eleven in the second half.
“I think he played well tonight, I think he’s still a little deep on some through balls, needs to talk more to his backs, but I think his shot stopping has gotten better as we’ve gone, on” said Lilley. “And he’s been training well and Austin’s been sharp so Kyle hasn’t got the last few games, but tonight he had a good performance and that will get him more opportunities, so I’m happy with his performance. He’s one of the few guys I think tonight that was on point fortunately.”
The Riverhounds tightened up their play enough in the 2nd half to hold off Indy and allow Kenardo Forbes to come on as a late substitution and find the back of the net to take the lead.
“I mean I was open, I was like 10 yards open, 20 yards out, so I have to shoot that,” said Forbes. “For the first time in awhile, I get on the field when a couple guys are tired, so advantage for me and I take advantage of that.”
The Riverhounds will take the win, but they will need to sure up a few things moving forward and especially when they face Indy again in USL Championship league play on Saturday in Indianapolis.
“We have a lot to sort out before Saturday, that’s about as poor as we’ve played in the last month, maybe all season,” said Lilley. “We walked around, we had three front-runners not working, hardly at all and when one of them was working the other two surely weren’t, nothing was collective about it. We got better pressure with 10-men the other night, so I don’t think it had anything to do, other than the fact we didn’t bring energy to the game for the first 25-30 minutes and we let them play the game on their terms.”
The result and how the team achieved it may not exactly be how they drew it up, but how can they improve on what they did tonight for Saturday in Indianapolis.
“We know what to do, we need to execute the game better in the 1st half,” said Forbes.
With tonight’s 1-0 victory, the Riverhounds advance to the 4th round of the U.S Open Cup to face an MLS opponent and Pittsburgh will find out who their next match-up is against in this tournament on Thursday May 30 at 11 am. The home team will be determined by a coin toss.
After we find out who the Riverhounds will take on in the next round of the U.S Open Cup Thursday morning, they will return to USL Championship league action on Saturday when they travel to Indianapolis to take on Indy Eleven.
“We’ll need to be a lot better to get very important league points at Indy on Saturday,” said Lilley. “We’re just going to have to be way better than we were tonight.”
The Riverhounds will also look to extend their 10-match unbeaten streak — across all competitions — on Saturday in Indianapolis.