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Final: Riverhounds 3, Charleston Battery 2

Final: Riverhounds 3, Charleston Battery 2

USL Championship Atlantic Division — Old Guard Shield Match 2

Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC 3, Charleston Battery 2 

Game Stats: USL Championship Match Center

Match Recap

In a wild, back-and-forth match, the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC continued its hot steak on the strength of two Alex Dixon goals to outlast Charleston Battery, 3-2, at Patriots Point Soccer Complex in Charleston, South Carolina on Saturday evening.

Russell Cicerone also scored his team leading eigth goal of the season as the Hounds (now 10-4-3, 33 points), remain alone atop the USL Championship’s Eastern Conference standings.

Still, despite the win, Hounds Head Coach Bob Lilley felt a bit uneasy with his team’s performance against a short-handed Charleston squad that had numerous players out due to COVID-19.

“I think we were poor in a lot of areas. We were fortunate. We scored three goals, but we didn’t create a lot of chances outside of the goals, and we gave up some soft goals,” Lilley said. “We gave up a free kick that nobody marked the man, and then we had a center back dribbling through the box against us. The game was played in a manner that was beneficial to Charleston, not so much us. I’m happy with the three points, but we were fortunate in some ways.”

The Hounds overcame an early deficit, when they allowed Charleston to convert on a free kick opportunity in the 15th minute.

Wasting no time, Pittsburgh responded three minutes later, creating a scoring chance on a well-orchestrated build-up that ended with captain Kenardo Forbes getting tripped up deep in the box after getting behind his man.

CIcerone converted his penalty chance by sliding a hard, low shot past a diving Paul Lewis.

After controlling possession through much of the first half, the Hounds once again connected a number of one-two touch passes that led to a golden chance inside the box.  This time, an unmarked Dixon converted from just inside the penalty spot to give Pittsburgh a 2-1 lead heading into the half.

Charleston responded again just two minutes in the second half by somehow squeezing through the Hounds center backs, who reacted late, in a wild-sequence which saw Romario Piggott connect with a left footed shot from very close range into the centre of the goal to level the match at 2-2.

Pittsburgh continued to bring pressure, and it was Dixon who delivered the game-winner, scoring his fifth goal in three games with a brilliant strike in the 65th minute.

“When he stays aggressive, he’s going to be dangerous,” Lilley said. “Earlier in the year, he didn’t convert some chances he should have, but he’s a fast enough player to cause problems getting in behind, and he’s a good finisher.”

Pittsburgh benefited from Charleston’s Stavros Zarokostas’ second yellow card of the evening, forcing the hosts to play down a man for the final 11 minutes plus stoppage time.

Goalkeeper Danny Vitiello made two saves and Pittsburgh outpossessed (52%-48%) and outshot Charleston (7-6, 5-4) slightly to hold on to its 10th win of the season.

“I don’t think we completed passes well enough, and we missed (Albert) Dikwa. We didn’t hold on to the ball like we should up top, and that was part of it. Look, this was one game, and we have four more in short order,” LIlley stated. “This game isn’t something to read too much into, but it’s points in the bank. Now, we have to get ready for Miami, because some of the explosiveness Charleston has up front, Miami has it in spades.”

Look for more postgame reaction to follow from Jordan Smith in Charleston, who is hoping to connect with the winners. 

Gameday Updates

Final – Riverhounds hold on to win 3-2 in Charleston. They now lead the league in away wins with 6. Hounds get their second win of the season when conceding first. The goals were going back n forth but the Hounds had the majority of the quality chances. Recap to be posted soon.

90+’ – Late sub for Charleston, MJ Petry on for CB Benjamin Di Rosa.

90′ – 6 minutes of stoppage time. Plenty of time for Charleston. Riverhounds need to tighten it up.

Burke Fahling gets a yellow card. I must say the referee has done a good job tonight calling fouls on both teams.

89′ – Danny Griffin now gets a YC for fouling a player on the run. Probably a good foul to take though.

84′ – The Battery make their subs and take out the two defenders, Adesodin and Gdula. Burke Fahling and Geobel Perez Oquendo come on.

Also, Ezra Armstrong gets a yellow card.

78′ – Red card issued to Stavros Zarokostas. Charleston only playing with 10 men now. Not ideal when down by a goal with 12 min left. I’m sure they’ll make some subs soon to get some fresh bodies on there.

75′ – Mekeil Williams hurt again and this time needs off. Jelani Peters goes on for him. Ezra Armstrong who’s only played 23 minutes this year goes on for Cicerone.

72′ – Great defense from Kilwien to stop Dionysius Harmon on the breakaway.

70′ – Riverhounds make some subs. Anthony Velarde on for Louis Perez, and Shane Wiedt on for Dani Rovira.

67′ – Charleston sub: Joshua Penn on for the goal scorer Romario Piggott. Benjamin Di Rosa also gets a yellow card.

65′ – DIXON AGAIN!! Cicerone crosses it to him in the box and he snipes one just like last game against Hartford. Dixon now with 6 goals on the year and Cicerone with his fourth assist. Great work from these two once again. 3-2 Hounds.

57′ – I’m up in the press box and the only person I hear in this stadium is Bob Lilley. No surprise there.

51′ – Mikhail Williams was down injured for a bit but he hops back on. Looks okay to go.

47′ – Hounds lose the lead in just a minute. Romario Piggott scores his second of the season. A Charleston player was brought down in the box and there was tons of commotion in the 18. Somehow Piggott found a way to put it in the net. 2-2 game.

45′ – Alright, second half begins. Riverhounds got 45 minutes to close this game out.

Half – A solid 45 min from the Hounds excluding the free kick goal given up by Rovira. He redeemed himself with his assist to Dixon. Riverhounds at 55% possession and winning about 60% of the duels. Created some quality chances and stopped Charleston from doing so.

45+’ – DIXON STAYS HOT! Rovira to Dixon for his fifth goal of the season and Rovira’s second assist. That just might’ve been the best team goal of the season. I mean everyone on the left side got involved. Beautiful runs off the ball. Riverhounds 2 – Battery 1

45′ – 3 minutes of stoppage time added.

34′ – Terrific play from Forbes to beat two guys in the midfield and sling a pass down the line to Dixon. Dixon passes across to Cicerone who does a spin move but his shot gets blocked. A good build up play that Bob Lilley will surely want to see more of.

30′ – #9 on Charleston Stavros Zarokostas gets a yellow card. He also has yellow hair on top.

27′ – Louis Perez on the corner kick. Since he’s a lefty he can take it from the right side to bend it in. Good cross but cleared out.

24′ – Riverhounds tie it!!! Forbes was tripped in the box and Cicerone executes the PK going bottom left!! 1-1 game! The bounce back the Riverhounds surely needed. Team high and career high 8 goals for Cicerone.

20′ – Annnnddd Rovira goes on and immediately gets a yellow card. Free kick chance outside the right of the box results in a goal. Logan Gdula gets the head on it for his first goal from Zeiko Lewis. Lewis now has 5 assists. 1-0 Charleston.

16′ – Tom Judge is down not looking good. Dani Rovira is going to come on for him. An unfortunate first game for the MLS 2nd round pick.

13′ – Good play from Dixon to clear out a cross from the Battery. He’s shown lots of success in the right mid position.

10′ – Cicerone and Wharton connect a few quick passes. Cicerone eventually loses it.

6′ – Tom Judge in his first game for the Hounds is bleeding. Welcome to the USL I guess.

4′ – It’s looking like more of a 4-4-2 for the Hounds in this order

Cicerone, Perez

Wharton, Forbes, Griffin, Dixon

Judge, Kilwien, Williams, Robinson

Vitiello

1′ – Game begins at Patriots Point Soccer Complex. Excited to be covering another away game. Riverhounds look to win eight of 10 and add a league high six wins on the road.

Lineups will be posted prior to the match and we’ll have gameday updates throughout the night here.

Preview: Our Old Friends, the Charleston Battery

Preview 

Friday, August 6 | 7:30 p.m. | Patriots Point Soccer Complex, Mt. Pleasant, S.C.
Streaming: ESPN+

Live Updates:  PSN’s Jordan Smith (@JSmith_1187) will provide on-site coverage | #CHSvPIT

The @Chas_Battery (6-5-3, 21pts) saw their three-game winning streak come to an end on Sunday night as they let a two-goal lead slip against Miami FC in what turned into a 3-2 defeat at FIU Stadium. Nicque Daley recorded a goal and assist in the performance, while Zeiko Lewis also notched his fourth goal of the season but it wasn’t enough to hold off Miami’s surge as the hosts evened the regular-season series between the clubs. Charleston will now look to return to the win column at Patriots Point where they are undefeated in their last six games and have won four of their last five. The lone draw in that run was against Pittsburgh on July 7 when the visitors scored a late equalizer through Tommy Williamson to cancel out Geobel Perez’s early goal for the Battery.

That draw also marks the lone minor blemish in the recent run of form for the Hounds side that has carried the side to the top of the Atlantic Division going into the weekend’s action. The Hounds have won four of their last five outings overall after a 3-1 win against Hartford Athletic last Saturday night at Highmark Stadium that saw Alex Dixon score twice – including the game-winner with seven minutes to go – as the hosts rallied from a halftime deficit against their fellow playoff contender. Dixon has recorded three goals and one assist in the past two games to earn back-to-back selections to the USL Championship Team of the Week and has also moved into second on the team with four goals for the season overall. Pittsburgh has also been impressive on the road this season boasting five wins, which is tied for the most in the league with Orange County SC, and will be hoping to add to that tally on Friday.

FiveThirtyEight.com Match Predictor: Charleston Battery 30%, Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC 42%, Draw 28%

Most Recent Lineups

Charleston Battery (4-4-2): Joe Kuzminsky; Logan Gdula, Leland Archer, Patrick Hogan, AJ Paterson; DZ Harmon, Zeiko Lewis, Angelo Kelly, Burke Fahling; Stavros Zarokostas, Nicque Daley

Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC (3-5-1-1): Danny Vitiello; Shane Wiedt, Jalen Robinson, Mekeil Williams; Alex Dixon, Danny Griffin, Russell Cicerone, Anthony Velarde, Danny Rovira; Kenardo Forbes; Albert Dikwa

 

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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