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Final: Riverhounds SC 2, NY Red Bulls II 1

Photo courtesy Justin Berl
USL Championship Atlantic Division

FINAL: Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC 2, NY Red Bulls II 1

USL Championship Match Center |

Game Summary

In the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC’s 2-1 victory against NY Red Bulls II, three things happened for the first time this season: Albert Dikwa scored, Todd Wharton scored, and the Hounds won in front of their fans at Highmark Stadium.

Early in the night, despite a hectic pace played at a style more suited for the Red Bulls II, the Hounds created several chances.

“When a game gets chaotic, it certainly benefits a NY team or a Loudoun team, but not us” Head Coach Bob Lilley said. “It’s good our defense didn’t give up any big turnovers in our half because the Red Bulls have speed and talent that can take advantage of that.”

While it took nearly eight games for him to register his first assist of the season in last week’s win at Tampa Bay, it only took Kenardo Forbes 14 minutes to get his second — and more importantly — officially tie the club’s record in all-time assists.

Forbes, who holds the distinction of the USL Championship’s all-time leading assist man, now has 27 total, tied with club legend Kevin Kerr.

Wharton, a utility man for Pittsburgh, was found open in the 18, and got a pass to his left foot from Forbes that he curled in past the keeper. Wharton stated “More importantly we won, but it feels good after 10 games to score one and help the team. I’m a team first guy, and I’ll play anywhere to find a spot in the lineup.”

Unfortunately, soon after in the 26th minute, the Hounds let in an own goal off a corner kick. Danny Vitiello misjudged the cross and couldn’t quite catch the ball, and Shane Wiedt accidentally tapped it in the net.

Tonight we saw the Dikwa of last season, that came in and found ways to be open in the box. Forbes lofted a ball up to Cicerone with a header that connected to Dikwa near the goal line. Dikwa scores his first of the season after a slow start, but the forward was one of their most visible players all game as he was winning 50/50 balls and defending well.

“Bob wants me to be a hard worker” Dikwa said. “Scoring is the best feeling. The motto is to always score more goals.”

Lilley stated he felt there was almost too much risk being taken on in the first half. Which in comparison to a few weeks ago, when losing to Austin Bold FC, where no risks were being made.

“I think if we settle down and play more clinical, we score one or two more goals” Lilley said. “We could’ve possessed the ball more, but it was a fun game to watch, I just wish we got the anxiety out of it.”

The second half was scoreless, and the Riverhounds (5-3-2) held on to win their first match in front of their fans.

Bob Lilley stated they went with their top 11 and only used a few subs in Preston Kilwien, Anthony Velarde and Jalen Robinson. But, moving forward in the hectic midseason schedule, there will be serious squad rotation in the upcoming matches.

The coaching staff will try to orchestrate what they did last time, and giving different players different opportunities in the next few games before a bigger break in July.

After winning three games in a row, the Riverhounds travel to Leesburg, Virginia to take on Loudoun United FC on June 30th.

Gameday Updates 

Final – Riverhounds finally win their first game at home! Officially 5-3-2 on the season and stay in second place in the Atlantic Division with 17 points.

89′ – Jalen Robinson in the final minutes coming on for Shane Wiedt. He goes out to right back and Mekeil Williams moves to center back.

6 minutes of stoppage time added which is a bit of a surprise.

86′ – A free kick chance for NY hits the side of the net. Just a bit to go in this game. Minutes away from the Hounds first home win of the season at Highmark Stadium and would be their third win in a row.

82′ – Dikwa sets up Velarde with a beautiful cross. A nice header from Velarde but an even better save from Lewis.

Dikwa now helping stretch out a player on NY. Great sportsmanship.

79′ – Ngoma again with another chance. He’s been their most visible player in the second half since being subbed on. Vitiello once again gets off his line and saves a shot with his arm at the edge of the box.

75′ – Emir Tombul heads a shot on net off a corner but Vitiello with another save.

71′ – Anthony Velarde and Preston Kilwien are coming on for Russell Cicerone and Alex Dixon.

68′ – Vitiello off his line collides with Ngoma. Trainers come out to help. He’s always aggressive in the box so these injuries can happen.

66′ – Serge Ngoma makes some quick touches past Williams and Wiedt and Wiedt drags him down. There’s no call there but I think it was a foul. Wiedt has a yellow so he needs to be careful.

60′ – A bad turnover by NY leads to a chance for the Hounds. Dikwa lays one off to Cicerone but he blasts it over the net. Just needed to pass one in there.

58′ – Shane Wiedt gets a yellow card for a bad tackle in the defensive end. He makes up for it by clearing out the free kick. Each side has one YC now.

56′ – Michael Knapp is injured but gets back up and is ready to play.

53′ – Hounds almost score. Forbes plays Rovira into the corner and crosses a bullet into the box off the volley right to the feet of Williams but a great save from Lewis on the goal line.

45′ – Second half begins. It’s looking like more of a 3-4-3 formation to me.

Half – 1st half is over. Riverhounds put together several creative chances. Could’ve had another goal or two to be honest. Just need to clean it up on the backline a few times to avoid earning one point instead of three.

44′ – Joseph Zalinsky of NY gets a yellow card. 2 minutes of stoppage time added.

41′ – This time the connection works!! Forbes lofts a ball in the air to Cicerone who heads it across in the box to Dikwa tapping it in. Dikwa scores his first of the season, and Cicerone gets his second assist on the year.

35′ – Another close chance for Roald Mitchell in the box. His shot goes wide. Riverhounds backline needs to close down the Red Bulls forwards before they go down in this game.

32′ – Forbes plays a brilliant pass into Cicerone in on a breakaway but just a big touch from him, it goes out of reach and into the hands of Luca Lewis.

26′ – Oh no, an own goal. Vitiello mishandles a corner kick cross and Shane Wiedt accidentally taps it in. Game is tied 1-1.

21′ – Another chance in the box for the Hounds. The midfield and forwards just seem to be having fun so far. Corner kick chance now for the Red Bulls is cleared out of the box by Wiedt.

17′ – With another assist on the Riverhounds first goal, Kenardo Forbes now ties the Riverhounds all-time record in assists leader Kevin Kerr, with 27. Forbes continues to have the most assists in USL history with 41.

16′ – Dikwa, so close again, chips the keeper but Emir Tombul on the line clears it out.

13′ – RIVERHOUNDS TAKE THE LEAD! Dikwa hits the post and Forbes got on the rebound, passed it across the box to Todd Wharton who makes a great finish. Kept his head down and curled it in on the left side up high with his left foot. 1-0 Hounds.

9′ – Roald Mitchell with a huge chance in the box is saved by Vitiello. He came out aggressively and got the hand out. Still 0-0 game.

8′ – Defense tonight is starting with the forwards. Have seen Cicerone and Dixon tracking back, and Dikwa winning balls in the air.

5′ – Cicerone to Forbes back to Cicerone, to Dixon and a shot over the crossbar. Good passing play

2′ – Corner kick early on for the Hounds. Forbes crosses a low one in but cleared out by Daniel Edelman.

1′ – Game is underway. Riverhounds for the second game in a row are going out in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Home team is in the whites, Red Bulls are in their red uniforms.

Look for starting lineups and in-game updates to be posted here.

Preview / Key Storylines 

Can the Riverhounds win a home match?

Although the Hounds have yet to win at home this season, there is reason to be hopeful.

Last Saturday, the Hounds (4-3-2) defeated the first-place Tampa Bay Rowdies, 2-1, for their first-ever win in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Russell Cicerone set up the Hounds’ first goal and scored their second, his team-leading fifth of the season. The win moved the Hounds up to second in the Atlantic Division, but they since have dropped to third after midweek matches were completed.

New York Red Bulls II (2-5-2) had nearly two weeks off ahead of their last match against Charlotte Independence on June 16, and the rest paid off in the form of a 3-1 win. Jeremy Rafanello netted two first-half goals and assisted on New York’s third goal in the 62nd minute.

The Hounds were in control of both sides of the pitch when the two clubs met on May 28, and the Hounds picked up a 3-0 road win.

Although New York had more of possession, they only put four shots on target, all of which were saved by Danny Vitiello, who earned his first clean sheet of the season in the process.

Danny Griffin started the scoring in the 22nd minute, sending a shot into the bottom-left corner. Alex Dixon notched his first goal as a Hound just seven minutes later, giving the Hounds a two-goal lead. Cicerone went top-right for the third goal, wrapping up the scoring in the 50th minute.

The Hounds have won their last four matchups against New York at Highmark Stadium, dating back to the 2017 season. They also haven’t gone winless through their first four home matches since the 2014 season.

PSN’s Recent Riverhounds Coverage 

Mark Goodman’s previous scouting report of NY Red Bulls II, has held up well…

Preview: We know, and do not know, the Red Bulls

Hounds Notebook: Road success provides momentum to ‘finally get some home wins’

Three Riverhounds SC players selected for preliminary Gold Cup rosters

Jordan joined the Pittsburgh Soccer Now team in 2020 as a contributor to Riverhounds SC & WPIAL coverage. He is also a current Graduate Assistant at Point Park University in the athletics department, while also obtaining an MBA and MA in Media Communications. Jordan, during his undergrad four years at La Roche University, interned and worked part time for every pro team and several universities in Pittsburgh: Riverhounds SC, Pirates, University of Pittsburgh, La Roche University, Duquesne University, Steelers and the Penguins. With all of these experiences he began to gain a passion to work in sports as a career. Smith played cup soccer for Century United and Beadling during his youth years and also trained with the Riverhounds. He attended South Fayette High School where he helped his team win WPIAL's and a section title his senior year in 2015, while earning All-Section and All-WPIAL honors.

Sounding Off on Soccer: Riverhounds Road Woes

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