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Pittsburgh Riverhounds

FINAL: Riverhounds SC 1, Sacramento Republic FC 1

USL Championship

FINAL: Pittsburgh Riverhounds 1, Sacramento Republic FC 1

Match statistics: USL Championship Match Center

Match Summary

From Riverhounds SC & USL Championship reports

Kenardo Forbes got a crucial game-tying goal to give Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC a 1-1 draw on the road at Sacramento Republic FC this afternoon at Heart Health Park in Sacramento, Calif.

The result means the chase for home field in the USL Championship Eastern Conference will come down to the final day of the season this Saturday, as fourth-place Birmingham holds just a one-point lead over the Hounds (15-9-9) and Detroit.

Danny Griffin made Hounds team history in the match, as the durable midfielder set a new club record for minutes played. He now has 2,965 minutes in league matches this season, surpassing the old record of 2,909 set in 2018 by Thomas Vancaeyezeele.

Rodrigo López scored from the penalty spot to give Sacramento (14-11-8) its lead early in the second half.


First half

Sacramento’s Keko Gontán forced a save by Hounds goalkeeper Jahmali Waite, who dove to his right to parry away the low shot just two minutes into the match.

Things settled in after the early Republic flurry with both teams trying to secure seeding and home field in their respective conferences.

The Hounds’ best chance came late, when Albert Dikwa spotted Russell Cicerone making a run to the back post. The pass was on target, but Cicerone’s shot was saved by former Hounds goalkeeper Danny Vitiello in the Republic net.

The Republic also had a great chance a minute later, but López couldn’t hit the net with his header from a Jack Gurr cross.

Second half

Sacramento got on the board after López drew a penalty by getting inside position on Jelani Peters and going to ground as he tried to corral a pass. The converted penalty kick by López in the 54th minute was the veteran’s first goal against the Hounds since he scored twice against them in 2014.

The Hounds were back on level terms by the 57th minute, as Shane Wiedt placed a perfectly weighted pass through the Republic defense to Forbes in the box. The Hounds captain scored his second of the season with a soft chip around Vitiello, tying the game.

Cicerone nearly put the Hounds ahead with 10 minutes left, as a great individual run saw him weave around three defenders to shoot from the top of the box, but the slightest of deflections pushed his shot wide of the post and out for a corner.

The Hounds went down to 10 men in stoppage time after Arturo Ordónez was sent off after receiving his second yellow card for a tactical foul, but neither team recorded a shot after that moment. Sacramento finished with 54 percent of possession, while shots were an even 8-8 in the match.


What’s next?

The Hounds return home for their season finale against a first-time opponent, Oakland Roots SC, on Saturday, Oct. 15 at 7 p.m. at Highmark Stadium. Oakland (11-9-13) sits sixth in the Western Conference but does not have its playoff spot locked up yet, while the Hounds must get a result to have a shot to host the first round of the playoffs.


Riverhounds SC lineup (4-2-3-1) — Jahmali Waite; Shane Wiedt, Mekeil Williams (Dani Rovira 61’), Arturo Ordóñez, Jelani Peters; Danny Griffin, Kenardo Forbes (Marc Ybarra 81’); Russell Cicerone (Edward Kizza 81’), Robbie Mertz (William Eyang 90’), Alex Dixon (Angelo Kelly 81’); Albert Dikwa

Sacramento Republic FC lineup (3-4-3) — Danny Vitiello; Duke Lacroix, Conor Donovan, Dan Casey (Luther Archimède 81’); Damià Viader; Luis Felipe, Matt LaGrassa, Jack Gurr (Ferrety Sousa 88’); Rodrigo López, Keko Gontán (Zeiko Lewis 73’), Douglas Martinez (Maalique Foster 73’, Rafael Jauregui 88’)

Scoring summary

SAC — Rodrigo López 54’ (penalty)
PIT — Kenardo Forbes 58’ (Shane Wiedt)

Discipline summary

PIT — Mekeil Williams 34’ (caution – unsporting behavior)
SAC — Matt LaGrassa 50’ (caution – unsporting behavior)
PIT — Arturo Ordóñez 74’ (caution – unsporting behavior)
PIT — Arturo Ordóñez 90+1’ (caution – unsporting behavior)
PIT — Arturo Ordóñez 90+1’ (sent off – second cautionable offense)

Match Day Updates 

Also, Birmingham loses tonight, so the Hounds still have a chance to finish in fourth place overall with a little bit of help next week

FINAL: Hounds 1, Sacramento 1

90′ — RED CARD Arturo Odonez

Hounds playing down a man the rest of the way

81′ – Three Hounds changes.

IN: Angelo Kelly, Edward Kizza, Marc Ybarra

OUT: Kenardo Forbes, Russell Cicerone, Alex Dixon

58′ GOAL– Hounds 1, Republic 1

Kenardo Forbes chips Vitiello!

55′ — Republic 1, Hounds 0

Also, another match of interest…

HALF: Hounds 0, Republic 0

Preview & PSN Riverhounds SC Coverage 

Hounds Notebook: Do results really matter in the final weeks of regular season?

Sounding Off on Soccer: Dissecting Riverhounds SC, Pitt men’s recent struggles

The Hounds’ final road trip of the regular season takes them to an unfamiliar venue, as they make only the second trip in club history to face Sacramento Republic FC in an afternoon match at Heart Health Park in the Californian capital.

The lone prior meeting between the teams was a lopsided one, 5-0 in Sacramento’s favor, but that matchup eight years ago will have no bearing on this confrontation between playoff-bound teams looking to secure a home playoff match. For Sacramento, the math is simple — a point from either of its final two matches will secure the fourth spot in the Western Conference. The Hounds face more of an uphill climb, but a win in California would ensure the Hounds are in the running for the fourth spot, and possibly in control of the race, going into the final weekend of the season.

The Hounds have been better on the road in the second half of the season, going 5-1-1 away from home since the start of July, with the only setback coming in their last road outing, Sept. 14 at Birmingham. Also part of that run is a 1-1 draw at New Mexico back on July 16, which was the Hounds’ most recent road trip to face a Western Conference opponent.

After getting blanked by league-leaders San Antonio on Oct. 1, the Hounds will be looking to jump-start their offense behind Russell Cicerone (12 goals) and Albert Dikwa (11 goals). While the Hounds haven’t scored multiple goals in their last four matches, they also have allowed more than one goal only once in the past seven games, as the back line of Shane Wiedt, Arturo Ordóñez, Mekeil Williams and Jelani Peters has solidified as a back four or as the majority of a back five.

Sacramento is also a team that hangs its hat on defense first, having allowed just 33 goals in 32 league games. Former Hounds goalkeeper Danny Vitiello, the 2020 USL Golden Glove winner, has emerged as the Republic’s No. 1 this season as the team bounced back from missing the playoffs and made a remarkable run to the U.S. Open Cup final.

The catalyst for the Republic attack is veteran Mexican midfielder Rodrigo López, who has five goals and a team-high eight assists this year in his third stint with the club. A veteran of the USL Championship, MLS and Liga MX, López scored twice against the Hounds in the 2014 meeting, which came during his first year with the Republic.

Game Notes

  • The Hounds meet Sacramento for only the second time in the teams’ history. The first meeting was also in California and was not a good one for the Hounds, as Sacramento took a 5-0 win during their title-winning season on July 27, 2014.
  • Pittsburgh and Louisville are the only two USL Championship clubs to have qualified for the playoffs in each of the past five seasons (2018-22), while Phoenix must win out to have a shot to also accomplish the feat.
  • Danny Griffin has played all but 17 minutes since the beginning of the 2021 regular season, starting every league match during that time. He has not missed a league game since turning pro with the Hounds in 2020, and today’s match will be his 82nd consecutive appearance in the USL Championship (regular season and postseason).
  • In addition to his team-record appearance streak, Griffin is on the cusp of breaking the Hounds’ record for minutes in a single regular season. He only needs 35 more minutes to surpass the record of 2,909, which was set in 2018 by Thomas Vancaeyezeele.
  • Albert Dikwa has his first double-digit goal season as a professional. The 24-year-old from Cameroon has scored four goals in the Hounds’ past seven matches, including a goal in two of the last three, to give him 11 on the season.
  • Hounds captain Kenardo Forbes is up to 41 assists as a member of the Hounds, pushing his USL Championship record total to 55. The most recent — setting up Dikwa for his goal Sept. 24 against Orange County — gave him his first career 10-assist season and puts him one behind Detroit’s Antoine Hoppenot for the league lead.
  • For the second year in a row, Russell Cicerone hit his stride in the summer months. He leads the Hounds with 12 goals on the season and he is just the third player in team history with consecutive double-digit goal seasons.
  • Dikwa and Cicerone are the fifth set of Hounds teammates to have at least 10 goals in the same season, and the first since 2019 when Neco Brett and Steevan Dos Santos accomplished the feat.
  • In 159 matches under Bob Lilley in all competitions, the Hounds are 82-35-42 and have allowed just 149 goals, an average of 0.94 goals per game. Across 22 seasons as a professional head coach, Lilley has guided his team to a winning record and made the playoffs every year — both streaks he extended this season, his fifth in Pittsburgh.

 

John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets. He is also author of 'Miracle on the Mon' -- a book about the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, which chronicles the club, particularly the early years of Highmark Stadium with the narrative leading up to and centered around a remarkable match that helped provide a spark for the franchise. John has covered sports for Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, DK Pittsburgh Sports, Pittsburgh Sports Report, has served as color commentator on Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC broadcasts, and worked with OPTA Stats and broadcast teams for US Open Cup and International Champions Cup matches held in the US. Krysinsky also served as the Head Men’s Soccer Coach at his alma mater, Point Park University, where he led the Pioneers to the first-ever winning seasons and playoff berths (1996-98); head coach of North Catholic boys (2007-08), associate head coach of Shady Side Academy boys (2009-2014).

Riverhounds MF Danny Griffin

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