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Pittsburgh Riverhounds

FINAL: Riverhounds SC 1, Locomotive 0

Photo courtesy Mark Goodman
USL Championship

Riverhounds 1, El Paso Locomotive FC 0

Game Stats: USL Championship Match Center

Match Summary 

For the second consecutive week, the Pittsburgh Riverhounds held on for a 1-0 victory at home, defeating El Paso Locomotive FC before 3,749 fans at Highmark Stadium on Saturday evening.

“This wasn’t our greatest performance. El Paso went direct and we didn’t put all our chances away.”

The Riverhounds did put away one chance though.

Russell Cicerone scored in the 47th minute, to break a deadlock, while goalkeeper Kevin Silva secured his second clean sheet in the past two games in dramatic fashion, with a penalty kick save in the 89th minute.

The Hounds (7-2-1) remain undefeated and in second place of the USL Championship’s Eastern Conference table  despite conceding possession to the Locomotive (4-6-1). Pittsburgh is now 6-0 at home and 11-0-3 dating back to last season. This was the first time Pittsburgh had played El Paso in competition.

On a beautiful Saturday night on the banks of the Monongahala, Bob Lilley penciled in a 4-2-3-1 lineup.

Both sides didn’t provide much offense in the first 45 minutes. The Hounds offered a few more scoring chances but the Locomotive held possession edge 60/40, as the match would also finish that way by the end of the night.

The home and away side were content sitting back in their shape, but Lilley’s squad was more dangerous on the counterattack.

Even at the age of 32, Alex Dixon was flying by defenders all night. He did so 45 seconds into the second half, slotted a pass across the box directly to Cicerone and he finished it home top left past the keeper.

“He turned a 4v2 into a 4v1.” Lilley said.

Lilley was hoping to see more dynamic pressure from the Hounds’ wide attacking midfielders.

“Him and Cicerone can execute more than they did” Lilley said.

Cicerone agreed. “I probably should’ve made more of my chances.”

The Hounds top scorer of last season did pot away his third of the season and Dixon earned his fourth assist making him ranked fourth in the USL Championship to date in assists.

Dixon’s 13 assists as a Riverhounds makes him seventh in team history as he just passed by Neco Brett and Danny Earls.

Cicerone did get subbed out in the 83rd minute. During the post-game conference Cicerone looked to have a bruise on his eyebrow.

“I was getting beat up out there. It was the right decision to take me out.”

The Hounds held the edge in physical play, especially headers and fifty-fifty balls, winning 71% of the aerial duels.

Tactically, to tighten things up holding on to a 1-0 lead, the Hounds moved to a 5-3-1 formation which they have used a lot this season in the final 10 minutes to secure the win.

What looked to be an uneventful day for the El Paso side became quite the opposite in the final minute. Riverhounds goalie Kevin Silva went up to swat away a cross and ended up colliding with a Locomotive player. The official decided to call a penalty kick.

Pittsburgh players were in awe after watching the replay on the big screen at Highmark Stadium and argued firmly with the center official. Dikwa was given a caution for dissent.

Silva saved the day as Solignac shot left and Silva guessed right. “My gut feeling said stay right. There’s a couple things I look at when watching the player approach their penalty kick.”

Silva wouldn’t share those couple things as he’d rather that be secret moving forward.

“Statistically, 73% of PK’s are made and 27% are missed. I just hope it’s one of those “27%” each time” Lilley stated.

Although, Silva played a great game posting his team leading three shutouts, Lilley stated there isn’t a starting keeper yet for Pittsburgh.

“The three of us train together and just support who’s in for the night” Silva said.

Chase Vosvick and Jahmali Waite are the other two keepers that have shared time. Both have five saves and a clean sheet on the season. Vosvick has earned team of the week honors in the USL.

The Hounds rode out the five minutes of stoppage time and earned another victory.

El Paso was 5-0-1 against the East coming into this game, outscoring 14 to three and were even on a three-game win streak.

The Riverhounds stayed composed.

“All teams and ourselves steal points, drop points and we just don’t want to make a habit of it” Lilley said. “I was afraid we were going to drop two points there but fortunately we didn’t.”

Lilley stated the defensive line had a rebound game from Louisville but let the fresh subs play a bit too much with the ball in the second half. “We didn’t disrupt their rhythm enough” Bob said, taking a page out of Mark Asher Goodman’s preview article where he stated in order to slow down El Paso, they need to out possess and disrupt their rhythm.

The Riverhounds are in a tough stretch as they’ll play the next two games in Florida against the Tampa Bay Rowdies and the Miami FC. Tampa has one of the best expected goals percentages in the league and have been successful the past few seasons.

Overall, Lilley said the starting XI will depend on what they see on tape, and depend on what players fit well against Tampa Bay.

Match Day Updates 

Final – Riverhounds win 1-0 with a goal by Cicerone and a last minute save on a penalty kick by Silva in net. Team improves to 7-2-1 and is 1-0 all-time now against the Locomotive.

90′ – 5 minutes of stoppage time added which makes total sense. Riverhounds still lead 1-0.

89′ – Silva made a foul off a cross that gave a PK to El Paso. Solignac took the PK but Silva with the save!! Riverhounds keep their lead as Solignac went left and Silva guessed correctly.

83′ – Jelani Peters in for Russell Cicerone. Riverhounds now in a five back to lock it up and secure this win.

80′ – El Paso with two subs again. Zacarias goes in up top for Francois and Herrera in the midfield for Calvillo.

78′ – 3,749 in attendance for tonight’s game.

75′ – Rovira attempts a bicycle kick that almost goes in. Save by Newton on the line. Crowd went wild for that one.

71′ – Riverhounds make two more substitutions. Angelo Kelly and Dambrot in for Forbes and Argudo. Danny Griffin now wearing the captains band.

68′ – El Paso makes their first subs. They sub out their outside backs Borelli and Brockbank for Hinds and John-Brown.

64′ – Cicerone almost heads one in off a corner kick. Score still 1-0

61′ – Riverhounds make a few subs. Dani Rovira and Albert Dikwa on the pitch now. Dane Kelly comes off, looks to be limping a bit but I’m sure he’s fine, and Dossantos out which makes sense since he got a yellow card.

46′ – Riverhounds score right out the gate!! Dixon blows right past the defender and feeds Cicerone for the goal. That’s Dixon’s fourth assist on the year and Cicerone’s third goal. 1-0 Hounds

Half – After 45 minutes and a minute of stoppage time, the game is tied 0-0. Two Hounds players have yellow cards. Locomotive at about 59% possession.

43′ – A great give-n-go play by Dixon and Cicerone. Cicerone sets Dixon up in the box but his shot hits the post. Hounds almost up 1-0 before the half.

Going the other way Dossantos gets a yellow card for a late tackle.

40′ – Forbes takes a shot off a free kick chance but goes way high

30′ – Best chances of the game come right after one another. Kelly and Williams both get a strong header on net. Newton stood on his head making both saves. 0-0

28′ – Ordonez in the book early on. He gets a yellow card.

26′ – Riverhounds short corner play fails and El Paso goes the other way. Francois and Gomez really showing off their speed there. Backline has to be careful

23′ – Both teams seem to be content with sitting back in their shape and not chasing. Riverhounds doing a better job of it with some counterattack opportunities.

13′ – Kenny almost scores. Rebound came out to him but didn’t hit it cleanly. His left footed shot just went wide right of the goal.

12′ – Quiet 12 minutes so far. Hounds containing most of the possession but Silva just had to make a jumping save. 0-0.

1′ – Game begins here at Highmark. Riverhounds rolling in a 4-2-3-1 to start tonight

Look for starting lineups below, along with in-game updates below.  We will also post a brief post-match recap and additional reaction here after the match.


 

Preview / PSN Coverage 

Latest edition of Hounds notebook…

Red hot Locomotive FC roll into Highmark Stadium on three game win streak

Takeaways & Player Grades: Solid execution of ‘Lilleyball’ gives Hounds’ dominant 1-0 win

 

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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