The Riverhounds SC edged the Hartford Athletic, 2-1, in its home opener on Saturday night at Highmark Stadium before 2,776 fans.
It was the 10th home opener in the club’s history of Highmark Stadium, and for only the second time in the club’s 23-year history, they’ve started off a season with two consecutive wins.
Former Pitt Panther Robby Dambrot scored in the 15th minute with a terrific finish, using his outside of his left foot, from the left side to swing a clever shot past former Riverhound, and now Hartford’s goalkeeper, Austin Pack.
The Hounds conceded the equalizer to the Athletic in the 39th minute when Hartford caught the Hounds napping with a quick restart and direct ball forward to the left side. It was Juan Carlos Obregón who made a run to get into the box after a ball played from speedy winger Prince Saydee, who blew behind the unprepared Hounds back line.
For the second consecutive match the Hounds played with a man advantage for more than a half, as this time, Hartford’s Peter-Lee Vassell was booked for a second yellow card in the 40th minute.
Early in the second half, the Hounds took advantage of the extra space Hartford was conceding, when Dane Kelly drew a couple of defenders in the box, then laid the ball off to his fellow countryman, Kenardo Forbes, The Hounds and USL Championship’s all-time assist leader had enough room to deliver a strike from 22 yards that found the back of the net, to help Pittsburgh regain the lead, 2-1.
— USL Championship (@USLChampionship) March 20, 2022
“I was mad at myself in the first half for [a shot] I put over the top, so I just hit that one as hard as I could and tried to keep on target,” Forbes said. “Bob was yelling at me, ‘Get it on target!’”
Despite the win and starting off the season with six points in the bag, Riverhounds SC Head Coach Bob Lilley kept his players on the field for about 15 minutes to emphasize some key points before they walked off the field.
— John Krysinsky (@JohnKrysinsky) March 20, 2022
“We have a lot to improve. Guys are getting past us. … I don’t think we’re connected,” Lilley stated in his post game meet-up with the media.
“Let’s recognize that we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us. We’re not gonna be satisfied with tonights performance.”
The Hounds would hold on for the one-goal victory with a few precarious moments late in the match, defending against a desperate Hartford side which created another dangerous free kick opportunity in stoppage time.
For more takeaways from Lilley, along with Dambrot and Forbes from a momentous night at Highmark Stadium, check out the post match interviews posted below from Pittsburgh Sports Live. In addition, Pittsburgh Soccer Now’s coverage team, including John Krysinsky, Mark Goodman and Jordan Smith provided post match reaction on Pittsburgh Sports Live. (See Below)
Mark Asher Goodman Photo Gallery
Post Match Reaction on Pittsburgh Sports Live
All-time Riverhounds are now 7-1-2 against Hartford. They've gotten consecutive victories to start the season for only the second time in their organizations history. Dane Kelly is also now the 12th player ever in the USL to play more than 15,000 minutes. Hounds now 2-0 #PITvHFD
— Jordan Smith (@JSmith_1187) March 20, 2022
— Tuffy Shallenberger (@Tuffy_Shall) March 20, 2022
Reggae Boyz link up as 🇯🇲Dane Kelly lays it off for 🇯🇲Kenardo Forbes to deliver a scintillating strike from outside the box! 🔥🔥🔥🔥
— Unveil+ (@unveilplus) March 20, 2022
— Mike (@OneCheck37) March 19, 2022
— Chris DeLuca 🎗 🇺🇲 (@DeLuca_C) March 20, 2022
ROOTING FOR THE RIVERHOUNDS!⚽️ (especially Alex Dixon!)
— Briana Smith (@brianasmithnews) March 20, 2022
— Dylan C (@ryski_txt) March 20, 2022
To be clear:
— Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC (@RiverhoundsSC) March 20, 2022
Dane Kelly honored here before the second half for scoring his 100th goal in the @USLChampionship. He’s the all-time goal scoring leader standing next to the all-time assists leader and captain Kenny Forbes @RiverhoundsSC @pghsoccernow @JohnKrysinsky @soccer_rabbi @NJEMurray pic.twitter.com/GDJW3opea7
— Jordan Smith (@JSmith_1187) March 20, 2022
— Bob Pompeani (@KDPomp) March 20, 2022
Another Win! Kept the ball well second half! A few mistakes and a whistle happy ref, but its a win for our first home game of the season! Will be re-watching the game tomorrow to do a match review and podcast will be available from Sunday Night/Monday Morning #PITvHFD #HoundTahn
— Riverhounds UK Fan Podcast (@RiverhoundsUFP) March 20, 2022