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FINAL: Riverhounds SC 4, Memphis 901 FC 0

Tobe Adewole's header sails past Memphis goalkeeper Jeff Caldwell into goal to give Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead in 1st half - Photo by Brad Oskowski

FINAL: Riverhounds SC 4, Memphis 901 FC 0

FINAL – Riverhounds SC 4, Memphis 901 FC 0 

Box Score

USL MATCH CENTER 

Clicking on all cylinders, the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC returned home for a commanding 4-0 win, beating Memphis 901 FC on Saturday night at Highmark Stadium. 

Converting goals in the well-balanced Pittsburgh attack were Tobi Adewole, Robbie Mertz, Jordan Dover and Steevan Dos Santos, as team captain and midfielder Kenardo Forbes contributed two assists. 

“We’re getting there,” Bob Lilley, Riverhounds Head Coach, said. “We kept up the pressure, had a lot of shots. Played a more complete game than we have in a while.”

Moments before the Riverhounds broke through for the first goal of the match, forward Neco Brett provided some high pressure on goal nearly converting a shot from a tough angle on the right end line. Brett beat Memphis goalkeeper Jeff Caldwell to the ball, then from tough angle tried to sneak shot across goal box but he missed hitting it as it rolled past the left post.

In the following sequence, Brett forced Caldwell to deny a shot effort from close range, setting up a corner kick. 

That’s when Forbes sent a lining ball to the near post area in the 27th minute, just outside the goal box. Adewole took it from there — as the Hounds defender came flying to the spot to redirect a lining header into the goal. 

Pittsburgh continued to apply pressure and maintained the possession edge, but didn’t capitalize again until two minutes of stoppage time was added to the first half. 

That’s when a wild sequence developed as Dos Santos drove a hard, lining shot that banged off the crossbar.

The ball bounced high, and back over the 18-yard spot, where Mertz took a touch, then lobbed a perfectly placed ball that deflected off a Memphis defender — and past Caldwell who had little chance to stop the ball. 

Mertz’ sixth goal of the season gave the Hounds a 2-0 edge at halftime, as his coach said after the match that was a ‘big’ goal. 

In the second half, Pittsburgh built on its lead, and continued to clamp down on Memphis, limiting its chances to shots from distance, while continuing to own the possession battle (57 percent for the match). Late in the second half, Pittsburgh also held a decisive edge in shots, 22-4 (10-1 on target).

Lilley started to get a little concerned, but was glad that his team tightened things up.

“I thought the second part of the first half we were a little bit loose,” Lilley said.  “Even though we were getting the better chances, I felt we got a bit stretched.”

Instead of letting Memphis back into it with a defensive lapse, the Hounds added  a goal in the 64th minute from Dover, on a terrific feed from Forbes on a through ball after a counter-attacking build-up.   

The Hounds added to the lead when Ryan James delivered a low cross to Dos Santos who blasted his one-time effort into the back of the net in the 69th minute. 

First twenty minutes of the match, Pittsburgh created its most promising moments coming in from crosses from the left side delivered by Ryan James that nearly connected with Kevin Kerr and Anthony Velarde. 

The Hounds came out in a similar 4-2-3-1 formation as the previous week, when they defeated Hartford on the road, 4-2. 

The difference in this match, and last week’s result that had a sloppy finish, the Hounds dictated terms from beginning to end.

“We addressed a lot of it, so now we are playing well enough that we don’t have 20 things to fix each week,” Lilley explained. “When you start to play well, you can focus on certain areas. I think we were more consistent managing the spacing on the field better through the game today compared to last week.”

Kenardo Forbes and Robbie Mertz sat in front of the back four, with Steevan Dos Santos in middle of attacking three midfielders with Kerr on his right, Velarde on left.

Neco Brett was positioned as lone man at the top.

With the win, Pittsburgh improves to 9-3-8, good for 35 points in USL Eastern Conference standings.

“It was good work from the team, from all the boys. We played together as a team today. Maybe it’s our first perfect game,” Forbes said with a smile. “We got some goals and then we defended our goal. That’s a good sign in the back end of the season. Last year, at this point we kind of shut down. I think it’s a good sign for us this season. We’re peaking at the right time. It’s good for the team.”

Mark Goodman will also be providing his analysis / player grades in the next 48 hours. 

POST-MATCH DETAIL

Lineups:

Riverhounds SC – Kyle Morton – Ryan James, Tobi Adewole, Thomas Vancaeyezeele, Jordan Dover – Kenardo Forbes (Christian Volesky 76′), Robbie Mertz – Anthony Velarde (Mouhamed Dabo 62′), Kevin Kerr – Steevan Dos Santos (Dani Rovira 75′), Neco Brett

Subs not used: Austin Pack, Noah Franke, Joe Greenspan, Sammy Kahsai

Memphis 901 FC – Jeff Caldwell – Wes Charpie, Marc Burch, Jacob Hauser-Ramsey (Todd Pratzner 75′), Ewan Grandison (Abdi Mohamed 61′) – Adam Najem, Cameron Lindley, Dan Metzger, Leston Paul (Marcus Epps 51′)  – Lagos Kunga, Brandon Allen

Subs not used: Scott Levene, Jochen Graf, Morgan Hackworth, Luca Uccello

Scoring Summary:

PIT – Tobi Adewole 27′ (Kenardo Forbes)

PIT – Robbie Mertz 45’+2

PIT – Jordan Dover 64′ (Kenardo Forbes)

PIT – Steevan Dos Santos 69′ (Ryan James)

Misconduct Summary:

MEM – Leston Paul 51′ (caution)

MEM – Dan Metzger 76′ (caution)

PIT – Christian Volesky 90’+1 (caution)

MATCH DAY UPDATES 

8:58 – It’s over. Riverhounds win — improve to 9-3-8.

Things got a little testy between the two sides near the end of stoppage time.

8:54 – Yellow card – Christian Volesky

8:52 – Three minutes of stoppage time added.

8:39 – SUBS: Hounds final two subs:

IN: Dani Rovira & Christian Volesky
OUT: Steevan Dos Santos & Kenardo Forbes
75′

8:33 – GOAL – RIVERHOUNDS – 70′ – Steevan Dos Santos

and they’re pouring it on now…
 
Steevan Dos Santos puts it in the back of the net after Ryan James delivers turf-burning ball in on the ground.
Hounds now lead 4-0

8:28 – GOAL – RIVERHOUNDS – 65′ – Jordan Dover

What a build-up, and ball through from Kenardo Forbes!
Dover finishes it with nice outside foot shot over GK Caldwell.
Now 3-0 Pittsburgh

8:24 – SUB for Pittsburgh

  • IN:  Mouhamed Dabo
  • OUT: Anthony Velarde

8:22 – Kerr lets one ride from 24 yards — misses right of goal.

8:19 – Hounds GK Kyle Morton comes off his line to punch away solid corner effort from Memphis to the near post.

8:17 – YELLOW CARD – Memphis’ Paul leads with the elbow into an aerial challenge, and he takes the worst of it and gets booked.

8:15 – Hounds keeping possession, but neither side getting close to any chances thus far in second half.

8:13 – Newly acquired Marcus Epps came in the 51st minute for Memphis.

8:07 – second half starts with no subs either way.

Here’s the Mertz goal.

7:53 – GOAL – RIVERHOUNDS (2-0) 45’+ – Robbie Mertz (we think he’ll get credit for it!) — shot deflected off defender and sails into right side of goal.

It came after Dos Santos shot banged off the bar, then bounced out past the edge of the box. Mertz’ shot attempt came from approximately 24 yards.

7:51 – two minutes stoppage time added to end of 1st half

7:48 – Maybe closest Memphis has come …  Paul Leston gives a bouncing ball a ride from 25 yards, but it goes well left of Hounds goal. 44′

7:39 -Like the way Hounds are playing with 1-0 lead. You can see a sense of urgency in pushing for second goal. Another nice possession leads to Vancaeyezeele with ball at his feet in front of keeper Caldwell, but can’t pull trigger quick enough.

Here’s a look at Adewole’s goal…

 

7:32 – GOAL – RIVERHOUNDS – Tobi Adewole! 27′

Adewole redirects in a corner from Kenardo Forbes from near post area perfectly past Memphis keeper Jeff Caldwell.
7:30 – lots of good work by Neco Brett to cause havoc in front of goal. Last one sets up corner. Previous sequence, he beat Caldwell to ball, then from tough angle tried to sneak shot across goal box but he missed hitting it inside left post.
7:28 – Robbie Mertz with the first shot on fram for Pittsburgh. 23′
7:24 – Forbes anticipates Memphis attempted pass as Hounds press high after possession. Takes it to edge of box. Plays 1-2 with Brett, then takes shot that’s deflected. Ryan James was there to redirect it toward goal, but shot hits side netting.

7:22 – The 4-2-3-1 Hounds coming out in tonight has four man back line, with Forbes and Mertz sitting in front, with Dos Santos in middle of attacking three midfielders with Kerr on his right, Velarde on left. Neco Brett is the lone man at the top.

7:20 -Ryan James just nutmegged Memphis defender Ewan Grandison. Got inside box, sent cross, but it got deflected.

Man, that move was dirty though.

7:18 – another quick advance for Pittsburgh — but Velarde completely misplays his cross with left foot and it goes out.

7:17 – Hounds get forward quickly and Kerr with some nice work on left side to earn a corner. Forbes’ outswinging ball goes over end line though.

7:15 – Memphis earns first corner of the match after Hounds scramble to clear a cross in from the right corner.

7:11 -Another James cross — this one to far post tough one for Kerr to win, and veteran’s header goes way over bar while he tries to fight off a defender.

7:08 – Hounds with first really nice build up along left side — Mertz plays it to James who’s cross for Velarde. A diving attempt by Velarde at six yar spot yards doesn’t quite connect with James’ ball in.

7:06 – Hounds wearing home Gold and Black kits while Memphis decked out in all white as they kick it off from

6:25 – Lineups are in!

Riverhounds starting lineup is exactly as I wrote below:

G – Kyle Morton

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

MF – Kenardo Forbes, Robbie Mertz, Kevin Kerr, Anthony Velarde

F – Steevan Dos Santos, Neco Brett

Here’s Memphis 901’s starting XI:

GK – Jeff Caldwell
D – Dan Metzger, Marc BIrch, Adam Najem, Lagos Kinga, Jacob Hauser-Ramsey
M – Evan Grandison, Wes Charpie, Paul Leston, Cam Lindley
F – Brandon Allen
Memphis reserves include a son of coach of another USL side, former Hound, former Rhino and Memphis’ newest acquisition:
 
Scott Levene (G), Morgan Hackworth, Abdi Mohamad, Luca Uccello, Todd Pratzner, Jochem Graf, Marcus Epps

 

John Krysinsky’s anticipated Riverhounds SC starting XI:

G – Kyle Morton

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

MF – Kenardo Forbes, Robbie Mertz, Kevin Kerr, Anthony Velarde

F – Steevan Dos Santos, Neco Brett

MATCH DETAILS

Saturday, August 3 | 7 p.m.

Highmark Stadium, Pittsburgh, PA

PSN Coverage: 

Streaming: ESPN+

Live Statistics: USL Championship Match Center

Live Updates: Twitter at @RiverhoundsSC and #PITvMEM

Hounds’ Game Notes

MORE ON MEMPHIS 901 FC

Meanwhile, Memphis 901 FC carries a 2-4-3 away record into this weekend’s showdown. This will mark Memphis’ first road match since June 29, when they lost 1-0 to the Charlotte Independence. 

Memphis is 2-2-1 in its last five matches, winning the last time out, 2-0, over Ottawa Fury, at home.

One late week roster move by Memphis the Hounds may need to take note of…

Preview and Scouting Report: Memphis 901 FC

PSN HOUNDS COVERAGE THIS WEEK

Riverhounds SC Notebook: Lilley looking to fix ‘edgy and uneven’ defending

View From The Booth: Hot Hounds filling Highmark

 

MORE ON PITvMEM 

This will be the first-ever meeting (officially) between the clubs.  They first competed at Memphis this past May, but the game was abandoned at halftime and therefore did not count as an official result.

New abandoned match rules worked against Hounds on Saturday in Memphis

Pittsburgh has not lost a regular season match at Highmark Stadium since July 21, 2018, when it fell 1-0 to the Charleston Battery. Since this match, the Hounds have a 9-0-9 record in regular season matches at the venue.

 

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, has served as color commentator on Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC broadcasts, and worked with OPTA Stats and broadcast teams for US Open Cup and International Champions Cup matches held in the United States. 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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