In a match featuring the two top teams in the USL Championship’s Eastern Conference Atlantic Division, the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC and Tampa Bay Rowdies, niether side would concede nor give in to the other, resulting in a scoreless draw at Highmark Stadium on Wednesday night.
It was round three between the two clubs who have previously split a pair of matches, both played in Florida earlier this season. Not only were they deadlocked after 90 plus minutes, the Hounds and Rowdies are also even in the Atlantic Division standings, with 34 points apiece. The Rowdies (11-6-1) currently have two games at hand on the Riverhounds (10-6-4).
Our coverage team was there to get post match reaction, including interviews with Hounds Head Coach Bob Lilley and second-year midfielder Danny Griffin, who leads the team in appearances, minutes played and total passes.
One additional item of note, Lilley pointed out that Hounds forward Albert Dikwa’s groin injury may keep in out of lineup for a considerable amount of time. Lilley didn’t give a specific timetable for Dikwa’s return, but said they’re hoping that he could make it back by the end of the season.
Riverhounds SC Head Coach Bob Lilley
After consecutive matches with 3-2 scorelines, the Hounds have buckled down defensively in the past two matches, losing 1-0 to Charlotte on the road, and now playing Tampa to nil-nil draw.
As a result, Bob Lilley was pleased with his team’s defensive performance.
“We were good tonight in the back. There were a few loose moments, but we were pretty good. They’re an explosive team, especially when you’re bringing Sebastián Guenzatti, Lucky Mkosana and those types of players on the field. We had good execution for the most part. We held a lot of the ball, which we knew we’d have to, because they were fresh. To me, we got the ball in good positions, past the midfield line in space, but we just didn’t execute. We have to get better at that, but we played the game I felt we needed to. Obviously, we want to win at home, but this was a game where they’re starting to get healthy, and they thought they could push us around early. The response from our guys was nice to see. I’m proud of the guys tonight, it was one of our better performances. I see a team that is adapting, being able to dictate games. That’s growth.”
Midfielder Danny Griffin
Griffin has been the Hounds workhorse this season, and after this match, shared his thoughts on being in a top-of-the-table showdown where neither team would concede much.
DId it feel like a playoff match to Griffin?
“Definitely. I think with each match in our division, you can see how tight the top of the standings are. Getting one point out of our last two matches wasn’t exactly what we wanted, but we’re looking to create more chances and get the three points on Sunday against Atlanta.”
John and Jordan’s Postmatch Takeaways