From Riverhounds SC reports
The Riverhounds SC opened the preseason with a pair of 2-0 victories against college teams this weekend, blanking Duquesne on Friday at Cool Springs in a match that was moved indoors due to the inclement weather, then beat Villanova Sunday at Highmark Stadium.
As the first week of preseason came to a close, Hounds Head Coach Bob Lilley had plenty to pick apart after 180 minutes of action that featured a mix of current players on the roster, and trialists trying to stay in Pittsburgh a little longer.
“We’re not moving as a group consistently enough,” Lilley said. “Individuals are moving, but in terms of giving the right runs or defensively getting in the right areas, both games have gotten stretched at times. Hopefully we’ll be a little bit sharper by next week when we play Penn State.”
On Sunday, 21-year old trialist Patrick Okonkwo (formerly with Charleston Battery / Atlanta United 2) scored both of the Hounds’ goals in the second half (47th minute and 65th minute).
The Black and Gold’s best scoring opportunity in the first half came off the foot of Lukas Fernandes. The striker freed up space in the center of the penalty box, but his one-timer was batted over top of the crossbar by the Villanova goalkeeper.
Meanwhile, Okonkwo stepped in to record a pair of goals in the second half. The first one came off his foot in close to the net whereas the second was from the left side of the 18-yard box, beating the keeper to the bottom right-hand corner.
On Friday evening, at Cool Springs, the Hounds received a first half goal from former Temple University standout Lukas Fernandes before returning Hound Anthony Velarde tacked on a tally during the second half.
“There’s a lot to work on,” assistant coach Dan Visser said on Friday. “A lot of new guys. I think it started messy, but the first group got better as the half wore on. I think the second group took a step forward from the first group.”
It took the Hounds 13 minutes to jump on the scoreboard against the Dukes.
Fernandes, a rookie signee, potted home a shot to put the Black and Gold up 1-0 early.
Meanwhile, Velarde blasted in a shot from about 20 yards out in the 68th minute, stemming from a free kick. The midfielder gathered a short pass from Kenardo Forbes before firing a shot past the Duquesne goalkeeper.
@WestABoysSoccer alumni @natedragisich and the Pittsburgh kid @robbiemertz14 shaking hands after @RiverhoundsSC defeated @DuqMSoccer 2-0 at Cool Springs. A great game with a lot of skilled players. @HoundsAcademy pic.twitter.com/QnjtpvpoJi
— West A Boys Soccer (@WestABoysSoccer) February 8, 2020
The Hounds will start week two of the preseason most likely with more players coming in on trial, and some of the rostered players that weren’t with the squad should also be back. Week two will conclude with a friendly against Penn State University at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 15 at Highmark Stadium.
All preseason matches at Highmark Stadium are free to attend for the public.
HOW THE HOUNDS LINED UP
Friday, February 7 – vs Duquesne
Riverhounds SC Lineups:
First Half: Tim Dobrowolski (GK) – Xhelil Asani, Griffin Mallas, Sam Biek, Sean Reynolds – Dani Rovira, Joe Kellet, Youness Benmouna, Robbie Mertz – Lukas Fernandes, Mark Forrest
Second Half: Evan Finney (GK) – Ryan James, Dakota Barnathan, Skylar Thomas, Adrien Awana – Brandon Bartel, Kenardo Forbes, Mario Mastrangelo, Anthony Velarde – Patrick Okonkwo, Ettore Ballestracci
Sunday, February 9 – vs Villanova
First Half: Danny Vitiello (GK) – Ryan James, Adrien Awana, Dakota Barnathan, Skylar Thomas, Dani Rovira – Kenardo Forbes, Anthony Velarde, Youness Benmouna – Steevan Dos Santos (Mark Forrest), Lukas Fernandes
Second Half: Anthony Mwembia (GK) – Ryan James, Joe Bell, Jerry Wiltshire, Sam Biek, Dani Rovira (Anthony Velarde) – Kenardo Forbes, Robbie Mertz, Ettore Ballestracci – Patrick Okonkwo (Lukas Fernandes), Mark Forrest (Patrick Okonkwo)