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Postgame Reaction & Photo Gallery: Hounds earn first home win in ‘fun game to watch’

Photo courtesy Justin Berl

Postgame Reaction & Photo Gallery: Hounds earn first home win in ‘fun game to watch’

USL Championship Atlantic Division

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

USL Championship Match Center

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.

In winning its third straight match, the Riverhounds SC improved its overall record to 5-3-2 overall and with two games at hand, they sit just one point behind front-running Tampa Bay in the Atlantic Division.

Justin Berl Photo Gallery 

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How It Happened / Postgame Reaction 

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

Riverhounds SC Head Coach Bob 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.”

“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.”

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.

 

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.

Pittsburgh Division I College Soccer Schedule (Spring 2021)

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