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Pittsburgh Riverhounds

FINAL: Riverhounds SC 6, Philadelphia Union II 0

Photo courtesy Matt Ralph (The Brotherly Game)

FINAL: Riverhounds SC 6, Philadelphia Union II 0

FINAL: Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC 6, Philadelphia Union II, 0

BOX SCORE

Post-Game: John Krysinsky & Matt Gajtka on Pittsburgh Sports Live

PHOTO GALLERY (photos courtesy Matt Ralph, Brotherly Game

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MATCH SUMMARY

The Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC completely outclassed Philadelphia Union II with a dominant performance, rolling to 6-0 victory at Subaru Park on Saturday.

The Hounds improved its record to 2-0-0 as they patiently picked apart a young Union II squad with an average player age of 18 1/2 years. Ropapa Mensah, Danny Griffin, Anthony Velarde, Lukas Fernandes and Steevan Dos Santos with a pair. Griffin, in his first ever pro start, added two assists while Hounds captain Kenardo Forbes contributed three assists.

After a bit of a slow start, the Hounds started to attack using the width and space against Union II’s 4-2-2-2 formation, ultimately using its possession advantage to stretch the Union’s shape and make the hosts chase the game.

The win gives the Hounds a leg up in its group table, as they now sit at the top with six points after two games.  Remarkably, after 20 seasons, this is the first time Pittsburgh has started a season with two wins.

Forbes became the 18th player to record three assists in one game in the Championship’s history, recording six key passes overall and completing 66 of 79 passes.  It appears that he’s the first Riverhound to complete this feat since Lebo Moloto did it in the ‘Miracle on the Mon’ comeback win in 2015 against another in-state foe, Harrisburg City Islanders.

‘Miracle on the Mon’ is available now!

The win extends Pittsburgh’s regular season point streak, as they have earned a point in each of their last 13 regular season matches, and in 19 of their last 21. Their last regular season loss was at the hands of North Carolina FC on Aug. 17, 2019.

Riverhounds SC will have a quick turnaround, hosting Indy Eleven, who are now 3-0 after beating Sporting KC II and leading Group E with nine points, on Wednesday night at Highmark Stadium (7 p.m. kickoff on ESPN 2).  There will not be any fans in attendance.

COACH LILLEY’S POST-GAME COMMENTS 

“We had to battle early on,” head coach Bob Lilley said. “They’re an athletic team that has pace. The first half was pretty even. We were able to settle down as the half wore on and rotate the ball while finding space in the wide areas. The two goals before half were very important. I thought we played a pretty good second half.

“We were fortunate we didn’t concede a goal – the first few good chances fell to Philadelphia. I think once we got on track the guys were intelligent in their play. It’s good to see the movement up front. Overall, it was a pretty good performance. It’s important that we got our three points and now we can turn our attention to the Indy Eleven game on Wednesday.”

Look for John Krysinsky’s takeaways/player grades on Sunday or Monday. 

GAMEDAY UPDATES 

87′ – GOAL! HOUNDS – DOS SANTOS – 6-0
Another goal for the veteran from Cape Verde.  Two goals in just five minutes.  Assist came from who else — Kenardo Forbes.

82′ – GOAL!  HOUNDS – STEEVAN DOS SANTOS
Steevan Dos Santos
As he just comes into the match!!
First touch of the season.
First goal of the season.
The assist comes from Kenardo Forbes his second of the night.
81′  HOUNDS SUB – Steevan Dos Santos IN, Robbie Mertz OUT
73′  HOUNDS SUB – Dani Rovira IN and Danny Griffin OUT
67′  GOAL RIVERHOUNDS SC – Lukas Fernandes! 4-0
Fernandes with his first pro goal — assist coming from Danny Griffin (his second of the night) as Hounds with patient passing around the box. Former Temple Owl scores his first ever pro goal not to far from his collegiate home.
https://twitter.com/USLChampionship/status/1284654998828138496
59′  GOAL RIVERHOUNDS SC – Anthony Velarde! 3-0
Brilliant set-up by Kenardo Forbes, who found the opening.
Second goal of season for Anthony Velarde and second assist for Forbes.
46′ Union II going with a boatload of halftime subs…

HALF
RiverhoundsSC 2
PhilaUnionII 0
They started a tad slow, but dominant 1st half from the Hounds against a Philly Union II side that has an average player age of 18 1/2
37′ GOAL – RIVERHOUNDS – 2-0 – DANNY GRIFFIN
Danny Griffin scores his first pro goal.
A nice, low shot through some traffic.
Assist from Mertz after Hounds move ball around the box.
https://twitter.com/soccer_rabbi/status/1284643804943966208?s=20
29′ GOAL – RIVERHOUNDS – 1-0 – ROPAPA MENSAH
It’s Mensah’s first as a Hound. Danny Griffin slides a nice through ball that finds Mensah in stride between open space between Union II CBs. Mensah goes around keeper Martino and passes it into the net.
First career assist for Griffin, who played collegiately at Providence College.

26′  Pittsburgh completely in control of possession — in the ballpark of 65% in the first 25 minutes, but pretty sloppy in the final third.

22′ The Hounds continue to be clever at playing it behind a high defensive line.

Again Forbes recognizes this, and Velarde makes a well time run on a ball over the top and in box. Can’t bring it down cleanly though, and Martino there to make save.

12′  Ben Martino makes his first save as a pro — on a Kenardo Forbes free kick. Welcome to the big leagues kid. 

8′   Forbes nearly connects again with Jordan Dover like they did last week — sending a diagonal ball to the far side of the box after a cut back and turn as Dover made a run behind the back line.

The Riverhounds SC starters — Danny Griffin makes his first-ever pro start as an attacking midfielder.  Few other surprises.

Here’s the Steel, um, I mean Philly Union 11 lineup…

Former Riverhounds Academy keeper Ben Martino gets his first pro start against his hometown club tonight!

Just in case you needed some background on Ben Martino, we shared this last year on five Riverhounds Developmental Academy players joining MLS academies, including Martino, who attended Taylor Allderdice High School.

Five Western PA-based players to join MLS Developmental Academies

GAME NOTES & DETAIL 

Saturday, July 18 | 7:30 p.m. | Subaru Park in Chester, Pennsylvania

Television (Pittsburgh): 22 The Point

Streaming: ESPN+

This will mark Riverhounds SC’s first match against a group opponent. Pittsburgh comes into this match with a five-game winning streak in road matches.

In their last game out, the Hounds defeated the 2019 USL Championship runner-up Louisville City FC, 3-1. Going down 1-0, the Hounds were able to respond with three unanswered goals of their own. The first goal was scored by defender Jordan Dover, followed by Pittsburgh native Robbie Mertz. Midfielder Anthony Velarde scored the team’s final goal.

With two impressive efforts in the season opener, Mertz and Dover were awarded a spot on the USL Championship Team of the Week. In addition, Ropapa Mensah was named to the Team of the Week bench for assisting on two of the three goals scored on Sunday.

This will be Union II’s second game of the season, but their first since the season restart. Back on March 7, Philadelphia recorded a 0-0 draw against Loudoun United FC. Very little offense occurred for both sides, as each team was only able to muster three shots on goal apiece.

PSN’s COVERAGE THIS WEEK 

Mark Goodman’s match preview / U2 Scouting Report

Preview: Union II, the Great Unknown

‘So far, so good’ for Hounds after cautious first road trip

Quotes from Bob Lilley Press Conference: Week 2 at Union II

Takeaways/Player Grades: High-pressing Hounds crash Louisville’s new stadium party

John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets. He is also author of 'Miracle on the Mon' -- a book about the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, which chronicles the club, particularly the early years of Highmark Stadium with the narrative leading up to and centered around a remarkable match that helped provide a spark for the franchise. John has covered sports for 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 US. 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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