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Hounds, NISA champs Detroit City FC play to scoreless draw

Photo courtesy Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC

From Riverhounds SC report

Goals were not to be had as Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC and visiting Detroit City FC battled to a 0-0 draw in the Hounds’ second preseason match of the year at Highmark Stadium on Tuesday afternoon.

The match was a step up for the Hounds (1-0-1 preseason) against Detroit City FC, which is the reigning champion of the National Independent Soccer Association in the third tier on the U.S. soccer pyramid — one tier below the Hounds and the USL Championship.

“We knew this would be a tough test,” Riverhounds SC head coach Bob Lilley said after the match.  “But we needed it. They were physical. They were organized. They played hard.”

As with the first preseason match, rotated through his roster, as only goalkeeper Danny Vitiello played the entire 90 minutes. The team will have a recovery day Wednesday and two more training sessions ahead of their third preseason game, on the road Saturday at 1:30 p.m. against FC Cincinnati of MLS.

“I saw a lot of good things, but I didn’t see the urgency that I hope we’ll see in the next couple weeks.” Lilley added. “We didn’t put our foot down on the gas pedal when we had them a few times early in the game.”

The Hounds will play FC Cincinnati of Major League Soccer on Saturday in Ohio. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.

First half

The Hounds came out well and controlled much of the play in the opening 45 minutes.

The first good chance of the game came in the 12th minute after newcomer Russell Cicerone, making his first appearance of the preseason, won a free kick at the corner of the penalty area. The ensuing free kick was just a little too high for defender Jelani Peters, who couldn’t get a clean header on the ball.

Shots would come from the Hounds, but they struggled to find the target. Midfielder Louis Perez had a pair of shots from distance that both missed high — the second one barely clearing the crossbar — and Cicerone had an attempt from inside the box on the left that hit the side netting.

The half ended with one last Hounds chance, as Danny Griffin took a quick free kick to find Jordan Dover alone down the right flank, but Dover’s shot also found the side netting.

Second half

The visitors from Detroit settled into the game in the second half and had scoring chances of their own, the first good one coming in the 61st minute on a free kick from 25 yards away on the right side. The ball into the box put pressure on the Hounds in front of goal, but they eventually were able to clear it away.

The Hounds were awarded a penalty kick in the 65th minute after a handling call against Detroit City, but Alex Dixon’s shot was saved by Detroit goalkeeper Tyler Back, who dove low and to his right to parry the ball away.

Detroit had the last excellent chance of the game with a free kick from only a yard outside the box. The shot was placed on goal, but Vitiello stood his ground and made a waist-high catch for the save.

Riverhounds SC lineup — Danny Vitiello; Preston Kilwien (*Jonathan Caparelli 66’), *Jelani Peters (*Rennico Clarke 66’), Mekeil Williams (*Shane Weidt 66’), Jordan Dover (Dani Rovira 45’); Danny Griffin (*Ezra Armstrong 73’), Louis Perez (Anthony Velarde 49’); Russell Cicerone (*Rodney Michael 45’), Anthony Velarde (Todd Wharton 45’), Alex Dixon (*Eduard Puga 73’); Albert Dikwa (*Stefan Rokvic 45’)

* — denotes trialist not under contract

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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