It was a tale of two halves for the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.
In the first half, Pittsburgh was stalwart in defense and got a goal from Pittsburgh-area product Robbie Mertz. The second half was all Indy Eleven as they continually pressured the Hounds, eventually breaking through for two goals to send the Riverhounds away in defeat.
Mertz’ goal was his first as a professional, and came in the 15th minute on a pass from Christian Volesky. The shot was taken in an optimal spot on the field, as Mertz was standing just inside the 18-yard box and dead-center to goal. With two touches, Mertz blistered it into the back of the net to give Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead.
But Indy would come back hard. An effort in the 65th minute was only barely turned away due to a crush of Riverhounds players camped out in the box and blocking the net. Another rush was on in the 71st, and this time the Hounds could not halt it in time, as the movement from left to right and then right-center kept the Hounds from closing down the ball at the right time. Kenney Walker pummelled the ball with tremendous force into the top left corner to even the game at 1-1.
Only a few minutes later, Tyler Pasher was on a break down the left side. An Indy midfielder passed it wide to him. Pasher tapped it beyond his defender and forward into the perfect position, teed it up, and lashed it near post and high over Riverhounds goalkeeper Austin Pack to make it 2-1.
The Hounds ended the match with a bit of a whimper. Neco Brett came on to try and score an equalizer, and head coach Bob Lilley added youngster Mark Forrest to the mix moments later. But on a goal kick, Forrest went up to win a high arcing ball at midfield, with Indy fullback Neveal Hackshaw rising behind him to challenge. Forrest splayed his arms out to steady his leap, swinging his left elbow back and into Hackshaw’s face. Hackshaw went down in a heap, and an immediate red card is shown by referee Laurent Varga – a red in Forrest’s first professional match.
The loss drops Pittsburgh’s record to 2-2-6 (W-L-D), putting them in 13th place in the Eastern Conference, 1 point out of the playoff picture.
88′ RED CARD, Hounds. Mark Forrest checks in, hits Neveal Hackshaw in the air on a 50-50 ball, and is shown the red card. Hounds down to 10 men.
87′ Alioune Diakhate breaks between the centerbacks, receives a low cross and lashes a shot, saved by Pack.
83′ SUB, Hounds; Neco Brett comes on for Dani Rovira.
81′ GOAL, Indy Eleven. Tyler Pasher receives and pushes a ball out and left of goal. From a sharp angle, he pounds it home high and near post past Austin Pack. 2-1 lead to Indy.
71′ GOAL, Indy Eleven. Indy gets a great break from Neveal Hackshaw. The ball is crossed wide, cleared by Ryan James. Lucas Farias recovers and cycles the ball to Kenney Walker, who loads his cannon and fires a 35 yard screamer into the top left corner past a sprawling Austin Pack, and it is 1-1.
69′ SUB, Hounds ; Noah Franke comes on for Kevin Kerr.
65′ Long ball comes into the box for Indy. Several players offside for the Eleven, but a Pittsburgh defender attempts to play it and it falls to Enevoldsen. He draws back to shoot but Austin Pack scrambles and slaps it away. Thomas Vancaeyezeele gathers the rebound, dribbles, and clears. VERY close call for the Hounds.
60′ YELLOW CARD; Kim Do Heon receives a card for fouling goalkeeper Austin Pack.
57′ SUB, Indy Eleven; Kenney Walker comes on for Nico Matern.
46′ SUB , Indy Eleven; Kim Do Heon comes on for Josh Penn.
45′ Another chance for Volesky: he hits a ball hard and low from the left to the far post, but just wide.
44′ Nearly something from nothing. Kerr sends a ball over the top, and Christian Volesky posts up his defender, controls the ball, and slaps a bouncing left footed shot that Evan Newton handles adeptly.
41′ Indy’s Tyler Pasher laces a 40 yard shot from the left side with his left foot. It sails just high of the goal.
20′ Corner, Indy. A dangerous ball rattles around the box. Shot Kelly, blocked. Another shot from Osmand is pushed wide.
15′ GOAL Riverhounds! Ucchena Uzo steals a ball out of midfield and drives into the Indy box. Two passes later, Christian Volesky sends a ball to Robbie Mertz, who scores!
13′ A corner bounces around and eventually is cleared out of play along the sideline by Ryan James. On the restart, Indy gets a long cross into the box. An Indy attacker gets a head to it, but Austin Pack is there to claim it.
— Indy Eleven (@IndyEleven) June 1, 2019
Evan Newton; Neveal Hackshaw, Mitchell Osmand, Karl Ouimette, Tyler Pasher; Tyler Gibson, Nico Matern, Lucas Farias, Josh Penn, Thomas Enevoldsen, Dane Kelly
Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
— Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC (@RiverhoundsSC) June 1, 2019
Austin Pack; Daniel Rovira, Tobi Adewole, Thomas Vancaeyezeele, Ucchena Uzo, Ryan James; Robbie Mertz, Kevin Kerr, Kenardo Forbes; Steeven Dos Santos, Christian Volesky