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.
. @edwardk_19’s thoughts after today’s 3-0 preseason win over @PennStateMSOC #HOUNDTAHN pic.twitter.com/zGUSDiLxMv
— Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC (@RiverhoundsSC) February 11, 2023
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.
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