From Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC report
The Riverhounds SC won its first preseason match of the year, topping visiting Gannon University, 3-0, at Highmark Stadium on Thursday afternoon.
Albert Dikwa, Louis Perez and trialist Eduard Puga scored for the Hounds in the first of six scheduled preseason matches and the only one scheduled against an NCAA opponent.
“The energy was good, we created a lot of chances, but I would like to have taken care of the ball better,” Riverhounds SC head coach Bob Lilley said after the match. “Lot of extra touches, turnovers in bad areas. Things we’ll have to clean up. It was a good start. It was cold, windy. Not an easy day to go play.
Twenty-two total players were used in the match, including six non-roster invitees, as the Hounds continue through the early stages of their preseason. The team will have a recovery day Friday and resume training Saturday.
The Hounds play two preseason games next week, hosting Detroit City FC of the National Independent Soccer Association (NISA) at 3 p.m. Tuesday and travel to FC Cincinnati of MLS on Saturday at a time to be determined.
Gannon kicked off the match on a cold, breezy afternoon with scattered snow showers, but the Hounds maintained control of the match for much of the first 45 minutes.
The Hounds nearly took the lead after just six minutes, as trialist Rodney Michael sent a cross from the right flank to the back post, where new signee Josh Gatt was able to take a one-touch shot that missed wide left of the goal.
Dikwa put the Hounds ahead 1-0 in the 10th minute on a similar play, this time with returning midfielder Anthony Velarde sending the pass behind the Gannon defense for the striker to finish on his first touch.
Dikwa nearly scored again in the 25th minute. Michael deftly left the ball behind with a backheel that allowed Dikwa to run through at take a shot from 18 yards away, forcing a good save from Gannon goalkeeper David Syntelien, who palmed the ball away for a corner kick.
The Hounds made seven changes to their lineup to kick off the second half, one of which was introducing Perez, the French first-year pro out of UCF.
Perez nearly found the scoresheet two minutes after his introduction, as he found room between the central defenders, only to have his shot lack the power needed to beat the goalkeeper.
Perez didn’t make the same mistake twice. In the 58th minute, he was given a well-placed pass from Gatt across the top of the penalty area, and Perez took a touch before driving a low shot into the right side of the net for a 2-0 lead.
The Hounds made more substitutions with 30 minutes remaining, including bringing on veteran midfielder Kenardo Forbes and defender Jordan Dover for a short shift.
In the 76th minute, Puga made the score 3-0. After giving a good effort to stretch and reach a cross in front of goal, the ball caromed off a Gannon defender and back to Puga’s feet. The non-roster player tapped the ball in from close range, ending the day’s scoring.
Postgame with Bob Lilley
(Italics = Trialists)
- GK – Jake Leeker
- D – Jonathan Caparelli, Jelani Peters, Mekeil Williams, Dani Rovira
- MF – Todd Wharton, Danny Griffin, Anthony Velarde, Rodney Michael, Josh Gatt
- F – Albert Dikwa
Start of half (* replacement)
- GK – Chris Morrish
- D – Jonathan Caparelli, *Preston Kilwien, *Shane Weidt, *Jordan Dover
- MF – *RDA staff coach (non-trialist), Danny Griffin, Josh Gatt, *Louis Perez, Rodney Michael
- F – *Stefan Rokvic
- IN: Alex Dixon, Kenardo Forbes, Ezra Armstrong, Eduard Puga
- OUT: Rodney Michael, Danny Griffin, Jonathan Caparelli, Josh Gatt.