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Pittsburgh Riverhounds

FINAL: Riverhounds SC 1, Charlotte Independence 0

Photo courtesy Ed Thompson
USL Championship – Atlantic Division

FINAL: Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC 1, Charlotte Independence 0

Match Stats 

Match Summary & Takeaways  

For the first time in club history, the Riverhounds beat the Charlotte Independence, 1-0, as Anthony Velarde’s goal off a nifty assist from Albert Dikwa at the end of the first half was the difference.

With the win, the Hounds improved its record to 6-4-1 to remain in second place, and in close range of the Atlantic Division’s front-running Tampa Bay Rowdies.

“We had a fair bit of the ball tonight,” Head Coach Bob Lilley stated. “We forced them into a long ball game. Charlotte is usually good at possessing but tonight we weren’t chasing guys. We were so fixated on what happened last game. We dictated the play and never sat back.”


The Hounds were in complete control of the match from the beginning.

How dominant were they?

In the first half, Charlotte didn’t see the net once. Not a single shot on goal or shot attempt.

After 20 minutes, and several chances for the Hounds, it seemed as if it was only a matter of time for someone to score.

Velarde, after being the captain last game at Loudoun, ended up being the man to do it.

“I’ve been here for three years now,” Velarde said. “I’m proud to wear the captain’s band when Bob wants me to. I thought we moved the ball well from right to left tonight. (Kenny) Forbes was able to set Dikwa up well. It was a good team goal for us.”

Velarde has started the past two games and has produced in both.

“I just want to build momentum and help the team. Score and defend. That’s the mentality for a lot of us. We knew it was tough to beat Charlotte, but we came in so aggressive to be successful tonight.”

Riverhounds SC midfielder Anthony Velarde evades Charlotte Independence defenders with the ball at his feet (Photo by Ed Thompson)

Coach Lilley even mentioned in the press conference the work that Albert Dikwa did on both sides of the ball.  Not only did he get the game winning assist, but his pressure was a nightmare for the Charlotte backline all game.

In the second half, however, Pittsburgh wasn’t able to completely put away the opposition.

“I was getting very frustrated on the sideline that we weren’t scoring enough. At least we were getting chances but we need more goals to win games. Just more clinical and we can find more space to have open shots.”

Pittsburgh has only been able to produce two goals or more four times.

In order to put away teams, more than one goal is usually needed.

The game ended with Pittsburgh at 16 shots and nine on goal, compared to the Independence’s 6 shots and only one on target.

The one opportunity they had was a chip from Irvin Parra over the hands of Danny Vitiello. Fortunately, Shane Wiedt was able to save the day on the goal line, heading the ball out of bounds. But, these are the games when a team can completely outplay another, but still go away with a tie or even a loss.

Riverhounds defender Shane Wiedt (left) and goalkeeper Danny Vitiello (center) have their eyes on a ball heading into the goal area. Wiedt would clear the ball away to prevent a Charlotte goal. (Photo by Ed Thompson)

Under Lilley and Dan Visser, the Hounds seems to finally be finding a rotation, and subbing on players they can trust to play good consistently.

The past two games, the French winger Louis Perez earn start for the squad, picking up his first professional goal last game at Loudoun.

“I wish we realized sooner he could really help us,” Lilley boasted. “His contributions the past few games have been good. He’s kept his fitness up. He’s solid on possession and tight on the ball. He’s an option going forward.”

Riverhounds SC midfielder/forward Louis Perez (Photo by Ed Thompson)

It’ll be interesting to see if the same goes for Josh Gatt and Ezra Armstrong. Maybe their time will come soon.

More importantly, Pittsburgh stays in second place in the Atlantic Division, now with 20 points. But, Hartford Athletic, Charleston Battery and The Miami FC still sit close behind them with games in hand.

A win at home was vital, as it’s important for any team to establish earning results in their home stadium.

Lilley summed up, stating, “Look, the game ended 1-0, but there was more goals in it for us. We’ll take the three points and we deserved to win. Hopefully we can build on this and get a result down in Charleston.”

Ed Thompson Photo Gallery 

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Gameday Updates 

FINAL – The Riverhounds finally beat the Charlotte Independence on Independence weekend, 1-0. Now they’re 1-7-5 all-time vs Charlotte. Velarde was the lone goal scorer. Second home win for the Hounds on the season.

90′ – Marcelo Palomino who was subbed on 12 minutes ago gets a yellow card. 3 minutes of stoppage time added.

86′ – Tresor Mbuyu and Noah Paravicini are now on for Charlotte. Irvin Parra and Kevin Riascos come out. Hounds still lead 1-0.

83′ – Dikwa dives out with his chest to make a pass to Forbes. Forbes then plays in Cicerone who gets a shot on net but Miller is there again.

Jalen Robinson now on for Alex Dixon.

80′ – Dani Rovira awarded a yellow card now. He strongly disagrees with the call.

78′ – Valentin Sabella comes on for Clay Dimick.

76′ – SHANE WIEDT SAVES THE LEAD!! Vitiello was chipped by Irvin Parra, the goal scorer from the last time these two teams met. Wiedt sprinted back to the goal line and headed the ball out of bounds.

73′ – Noticing Todd Wharton playing more defensive now back on the right side. He can play practically anywhere and that’s why Bob Lilley trusts him so much. Wharton, a veteran is one of the few on this team that have played over 100 USL games.

68′ – Riverhounds make a few subs. Russell Cicerone in for Anthony Velarde and Dani Rovira on for Louis Perez.

66′ – Hugh Roberts with a header off a corner kick gives the Independence their best chance all game. Still don’t have a shot on goal all game but Hounds can’t let them break through now.

61′ – In trying to tie the game, the Independence have changed to a 3-5-2 formation.

56′ – Dikwa with a header on net, yet again Miller makes a tremendous save. He’s been Charlotte’s best player, keeping this a one goal game.

53′ – Brandt Bronico fouls Forbes. Free kick opportunity from about 25 out is taken by Louis Perez but another spectacular save from Miller.

50′ – Dixon with two shots on net in the half so far, both saved by Miller. About 3,300 fans in the stadium tonight I’ve been told.

45′ – Second half begins. Hugh Roberts now down injured. Looks like the away team thinks Dikwa elbowed him.

Half – Riverhounds certainly dominating in play tonight. The Independence don’t even have a shot on goal yet. Hounds have 9 corner kicks and 16 crosses with 66% possession. Could be a 2-0 game for sure.

45+’ – VELARDE GOAL!! A beautiful cryuff type pass from Dikwa sets up Velarde inside the box. Velarde’s second goal and Dikwa’s second assist on the season. 1-0 Riverhounds at the half.

45′ – 3 minutes of stoppage time added. Thomas de Villardi of Charlotte is injured and walks off the field.

40′ – All Riverhounds right now!! Just can’t get it in! Wharton down the end line sets up Forbes but saved by a defender.

37′ – Todd Wharton issued a yellow card now.

35′ – Velarde with another shot on goal but straight at the keeper. The look on his face shows he knows he can make that shot.

32′ – Great build up play from Griffin and Velarde. Hounds just can’t get one of these in but are getting close.

29′ – Wiedt gets a header off a corner kick cross but doesn’t get all of it. Save for Miller. Miller has 4 SO’s which is second most in the league.

26′ – Louis Perez gets a great chance outside the box but pikes it way over the net. Field goal is good. He used his weak foot instead of his strong foot there.

21′ – I don’t think Danny Griffin has missed a pass yet. He shows great fitness out there, never tired. Hounds look like the slightly better team so far.

16′ – Kevin Riascos on Charlotte gets a yellow card for a foul on Velarde.

14′ – Dikwa trying the bicycle kick for the second time in a row. This time he’s pushed down by the defense in mid air. Fans wanted a PK to be called.

12′ – Shane Wiedt looks so solid centering the back line. He’s been their best defender all season. He has enough technical skill too, where he could play CDM as well.

5′ – Louis Perez looks very confident on the ball already early on. Is this a player that the Hounds could use out on the wing every game? I think it’s a possibility. Will be interesting to see throughout the season if Bob Lilley keeps starting him.

2′ – Hounds give up a dangerous free kick early. Danny Griffin heads it away. Dixon then almost sets up Velarde and goes out for a corner kick.

1′ – Game begins. Velarde and Perez getting another start. Cicerone starting as a sub, but I bet he gets in the second half at some point.

According to the USL Championship website, the Riverhounds are lining up in a 3-5-1-1 and the Independence are out in a 4-4-2.

Look for lineups to be posted here along with game updates from Highmark Stadium.

PSN’s Mark Goodman’s preview is up…

Preview: Charlotte on the Mon, Maybe for the Last Time


Will this continue to be a week of firsts?

The Hounds would now like that to be the case as they’ve never defeated the Independence, a nemesis since they’ve been competing in the USL Championship since 2015.

The Independence (5-4-0) come to Highmark having never lost to the Hounds (5-4-2), with seven wins and five draws in 12 all-time matchups. That includes a meeting May 22 in the Hounds’ home opener, when a first-half goal by Irvin Parra was all the scoring Charlotte needed to escape with a 1-0 win.

Since that early loss, the Hounds have steadied themselves with a 5-2-1 mark, but nothing can be taken for granted in a matchup where the winner will hold sole possession of second place in the Atlantic Division.

In that 2-1 defeat Wednesday at Loudoun United FC, the Hounds did get a spark from Louis Pérez, the first-year pro who scored his first goal in his second start for the club. While it’s likely the lineup will be shuffled again, the Hounds are limited on the back line with Jelani Peters still away on international duty and Jordan Dover still being listed as questionable after missing the past two matches.

Charlotte, which was beaten 2-1 by Miami in their last match, is a different team on the attack than when they last came to Pittsburgh, having added longtime USL goalscorer Dane Kelly. Since joining the Independence, Kelly has four goals in six matches.

Recent PSN Hounds Coverage 

Hounds Notebook: Independence Day tradition continues, sort of, and up close with Russell Cicerone

Hounds endure long night, first loss Loudoun United FC and an earful from coach Lilley


Jordan joined the Pittsburgh Soccer Now team in 2020 as a contributor to Riverhounds SC & WPIAL coverage. He also just obtained a MBA at Point Park University while being the Graduate Assistant in the Athletics department. 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.

Riverhounds MF Danny Griffin

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