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Photo Gallery: Hounds roll past Penn State, 3-0

The Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC broke open a scoreless affair at the half by pouring on three second half goals to defeat Penn State, 3-0, on Saturday at Highmark Stadium in their second preseason match.

A scoreless affair through the first half, the Hounds exploded for three goals between the 58th and 77th minutes, with midfielders Robbie Mertz and Luke BIasi assisting on the bookend goals.  All goals were scored by trialists.

“In the first half, we had some good ideas, but it wasn’t enough.  In the second half, we started to get more on the same page, and as a result, we got the goals, so that was good,” Edward Kizza, Riverhounds SC forward said after the match.

More than a dozen trialists saw action for the Hounds in the match, including four in the starting lineup, and many of the non-roster players in camp seized their opportunities. The three goals were all scored by players invited to camp on trial, the first time three different unsigned players have scored for the Hounds in a preseason match in team history.

The Hounds began the match with a strong returning lineup that included goalkeeper Jahmali Waite, defender Arturo Ordóñez, midfielders Robbie Mertz, Dani Rovira and Marc Ybarra, and forward Edward Kizza. Offseason acquisition Joe Farrell also got the start alongside Ordóñez at center back, as all of the starting lineup logged between 45 and 62 minutes.

The first half started a little slowly, with both teams warming their way into the action on a brisk afternoon, but Ybarra signaled the Hounds’ intent after 15 minutes with a curling shot from 18 yards that missed just high. Kizza also had two good chances as the half progressed, forcing a save at the near post from close range just four minutes before halftime, but the teams went to the break tied 0-0.

Kizza thought he had won a penalty kick for the Hounds when he was taken down by the Nittany Lions’ goalkeeper in the 54th minute, but the offside flag was raised, negating the foul.

Finally, the Hounds broke through in the 59th minute, when Mertz — the Pittsburgh native coming off a career-high nine assists in 2022 —swung a corner kick into the box for a headed finish. Ten minutes later, with both teams going deeper into their bench, the Hounds nodded home a second headed goal on a trialist-to-trialist connection from the right flank.

Returning Hounds defender Luke Biasi, who entered the game at halftime, sent in the cross that led to the third goal in the 77th minute. His service and a pass laid back from the center of the box set up a low, driven shot scored from the top of the box, completing the big day for the training camp invitees.

Pittsburgh Soccer Now‘s Ed Thompson was on hand to capture the action at Highmark Stadium.

The Hounds will return to action next Saturday when they’ll host Akron, at 4 p.m., also at Highmark Stadium.

Ed Thompson Photo Gallery 

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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 Kenardo Forbes

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