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FINAL: Riverhounds SC 2, Loudoun United 0

Photo courtesy Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC

FINAL: Riverhounds 2, Loudoun United FC 0

Box Score: USL Championship Match Center 

MATCH RECAP

Both the Riverhounds SC and Loudoun United FC came into Saturday evening’s match at Highmark Stadium undefeated and one left staying that way.

The Riverhounds rolled to a 2-0 win, thanks to super sub Dane Kelly’s two second half goals to keep Pittsburgh undefeated (3-0-1).

Pittsburgh is now 9-1 all-time when facing the Leesburg, Virginia based team and 5-0 all-time at Highmark Stadium. Riverhounds have never surrended a goal against United at home in their history.

The loss drops an improved and more competitive Loudoun to a 2-1-1 record early in the season.

After an uneventful and scoreless first half, it looked to be a quiet night.

“Teams that want to win, don’t throw points away,” Riverhounds SC Head Coach Bob Lilley said after the match.

Too often last year, the Hounds did this against subpar teams, as it cost them from hosting a home playoff game.

In the 2021 season, Pittsburgh were dealt a painful 2-1 loss on the road against Loudoun, as Lilley spent two hours lecturing his players after that match in the locker room.

On a damp, cold early April Saturday night at Highmark Stadium through the first 45 minutes, it looked to be one of those undeserving results for the Hounds.

Now, a year later, so far, the same can’t be said.

Four games in, the team isn’t even close to their potential. Not far from it, but even Lilley stated “I don’t even know who’s our top 11, and hopefully none of you do or you’ll take my job. The 24th guy on this roster will be so important. The better that guy is, the better this team is.”

Lilley’s advice for the second half worked. Offensively, the wingers got into the corners more and pulled the backline apart.

Around the 60th minute, two casual all-stars in Alex Dixon and Dane Kelly stepped on the field and it made all the difference.

DC United’s second team came into this game not only undefeated like the Hounds, but also never having given up a goal yet.

Dane Kelly, would be the one to end that.

An unselfish play by Albert Dikwa, set up Kelly for his 101st career goal. He was on the field for the first time this season with Dikwa.

“The team feeds off Dikwa,” Kelly said. “He does all the hard work and I just finished it off. It was good to finally play with him.”

Dikwa who seemed snake-bit last season and was injured only had two goals and three assists in the campaign. This year through four games and only 188 minutes played, he has two goals and one assist.

And 13 minutes later, the super sub Kelly scored an authoritative header into the back of the net off a corner kick cross from captain Kenardo Forbes.

Not often does a sub score two goals in 13 minutes, but Dane Kelly isn’t your normal sub.

The Jamaican connection happened once again for the second time in two games, at Highmark.

The team struggled to score set pieces last season, unless it was a Tommy Williamson free kick who is now in the MLS. So far, through four games, the Hounds already have three set piece goals.

As an optimist, the Riverhounds didn’t even start their theoretical top 11 and dominated the second half, and broke a team down that didn’t allow a goal for three games. Bob did state last week, he plans to give everyone minutes and try guys in different positions.

“Right now I want and expect all three of our goalies to grow” Lilley stated. Kevin Silva earned his second start tonight. Vosick started the other two games and now Jahmali Waite was recently signed. Between the three keepers, Lilley currently rates them 1A, 1B and 1C.

Under Lilley’s system, everyone needs to get better. Even ask the USL all-time leading goal scorer Dane Kelly:

“Bob is a perfectionist. I’ve never had a coach like him before. If I make a mistake in practice he’ll always say something. That’s going to help me grow as a player.”

A player that has scored 102 career goals in the USL can continue to grow? The fans should be excited about that.

Pittsburgh is off to their best start since their second season back in 2000. Both teams have earned 10/12 points through four games.

As of tonight, the Hounds are second in the Eastern conference standings.

Lilley post-game sounded a lot like Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin on what the expectations are for this organization. “To build a winning team and a winning culture, you have to have high standards.”

With how deep the lineup looks, it could be a special season for the Riverhounds if they continue to be consistent.

“This season we have a full deck of cards, not just face cards.”

Match Day Updates with Jordan Smith: 

Final – At the end of 90 minutes, Pittsburgh wins 2-0. Full recap and live post-game conference to be posted soon.

90′ – 3 minutes of stoppage time added.

84′ – Great buildup play from Angelo Kelly and Cicerone. Perfect pass to Dixon but and an even better save by Zamudio. He saves that one with the side of his head! Ouch!!

81′ – Loudoun with two more subs. Matai Akinmboni and Jace Clark in for Jackson Hopkins and Nicky Downs.

78′ – Riverhounds make their final two subs. Forbes handed a yellow card so him and Dikwa off. Toby Sims and Angelo Kelly now in for Pittsburgh.

73′ – Kelly scores again! An aggressive header with authority in the box off a Kenardo Forbes corner kick gives the Hounds a 2-0 advantage. Forbes with 46 assists all-time now and 32 with the Riverhounds. Kelly scores his second of the night and third on the season. 102 total goals for him now.

69′ – Loudoun makes two more subs: Houssou Landry and Isaac Espinal on for Kimarni Smith and Jeremy Garay. Both playing RM and RW on the right flank.

65′ – Kelly to Dikwa, back to Kelly for a goal!! The USL goal scoring leader earns his second in a Riverhounds uniform. Dikwa with an unselfish play adds his first assist on the season. 1-0 Riverhounds

64′ – Dikwa hits the crossbar with a header!! Getting more chances now. Maybe this game will finally break open soon.

63′ – Kelly with a shot on goal and saved. This is the first time Kelly and Dikwa are playing with each other on the field at the same time.

60′ – Riverhounds make 3 subs early here. Alex Dixon, Robby Dambrot and Dane Kelly in for Dani Rovira, Biasi and Argudo.

56′ – Loudoun makes their first sub. Tyler Freeman on for Azaad Liadi in the LW spot.

51′ – A good chance for Jackson Hopkins is saved by Silva. Then, a dangerous free kick is given up. Loudoun tries a back post play but cleared out by the backline.

45′ – Alright, second half. Here we go. Hounds not going with their top 11 this game probably because of the cup match on Tuesday but, enough fire power to win this game.

Halftime – Score is 0-0 at the end of the first half. A very uneventful 45 min. Hounds with a few on target attempts but nothing close. This is how Loudoun hasn’t given up a goal yet this season. Just trap and defend.

42′ – Rovira got megged and then smacked Jacob Greene in the head. That’ll be the first yellow of the night. Game is still 0-0

36′ – Jackson Hopkins on Loudoun is being warned by the ref. No yellow card handed out but this game has gotten a bit chippy. 12 fouls so far. I’m sure the ref is trying to avoid it from becoming one of those nights…

32′ – Hounds haven’t given up much but having trouble building through Loudoun’s midfield and backline. Riverhounds leading in shots currently 4-2.

18′ – Cicerone with a shot on target. He had a nifty move earlier. He’s playing well so far.

12′ – Hounds playing in a 5-1-3-1. Cicerone as the CAM while Forbes is out left. Argudo on the right. Loudoun in a 3-4-3 but defending with 5 and the high wingers are dropping back a good bit. Definitely playing a trap style game.

1′ – Game starts here at Highmark! Battle between two undefeated teams. Loudoun has yet to give up a goal. Who on the Riverhounds will end that?

Look for starting lineups and match updates to be posted here.


Preview / PSN Riverhounds Coverage 

Hounds Notebook: Jelani Peters becomes a steady presence on back line

Takeaways & Player Grades: Lilley takes Hounds’ depth for early season test drive in the Motor City

 

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.

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