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Pittsburgh Riverhounds

Riverhounds beat RGV 2-0 on goals from Dikwa and Forbes

File photo courtesy Ed Thompson

It didn’t take magic or dramatics to get the Riverhounds a 2-0 win on Saturday night. It simply required a steady, workmanlike, and complete match for the Hounds in order to top the visiting RGV Toros.

The win ran the Riverhounds record to 2-3-1 (WTL), putting them in fourth place in the USL Championship’s Eastern Conference standings at the end of the night with 9 points.

The victory for the sellout crowd of 5,092 came mostly by means of playing with higher energy and faster pace than their opponents from the first whistle. The overall effort wasn’t always picturesque, but ultimately, a win is a win, especially at home.

“Our energy was good from the start,” said head coach Bob Lilley. “But our quality could have been better.”

The lack of precision was certainly an issue in the first half, as the Riverhounds produced just 3 shots in the half while also earning 4 corner kicks. In other words, they had the possession; they penetrated into the final third; and they got opportunities to put the into the box. But that open look wouldn’t reveal itself for the team in the first 45 minutes.

Out of the locker room to start the second half, the Hounds were a bit quicker to the ball and earned a early chance as Luke Biasi sent a cutback-cross into the middle of the box at above waist height. Albert Dikwa contorted himself to make a play, power-chesting the ball into the back of the net to give the Hounds a 1-0 lead.

A few minutes later, Pittsburgh would double that lead as right back Dani Rovira swung in a low cross that found the head of team captain and elder statesman Kenardo Forbes, who was stationed in the optimal spot to create a big chance. Kenny headed the ball neatly into the net to double the Hounds lead. The goal was just Kenny’s second-ever headed goal in USL Championship play amongst his 26 all-time goals in the league.

“It’s a step going forward,” said Kenardo Forbes. “In previous games, we’ve had a good spell, two good spells in 90 minutes, keeping the ball. Tonight, we had more spells – more possession tonight. That was the focus coming into the game.”

“The boys did well tonight. It’s a building block.”


The Hounds produced 9 shots on the night, with 4 shots on target, while holding their opposition to 6 shots with 0 shots on target. Defensively, the Hounds blocked 4 of those shots. Suffice it to say goalkeeper Jahmali Waite was left with very little to do on the night.

Albert Dikwa refused to take too much credit for opening the scoring on the night, preferring instead to recognize his coach, Bob Lilley, for encouraging him for making the right plays at the right time. “First of all, I’m going to give the credit to coach. Every training, he’s telling us ‘you have to make the first post run; you have to be active in the box.’ I was just in the goal position, and he looked and found me.”

“In this game, we attacked more. We attacked more. That was a good sign.”

Coach Lillley had some tactical notes regarding the team. He was reflective on the manner in which the team tried to force matters a bit – playing aggressively and with through balls into the middle of the pitch more often than he would like, rather than play slower and more controlled while looking for crosses and openings when there were more options to pass to and less galloping for balls.

Lilley reflected, “There were moments where we were all sprinting for the through ball, and someone needs to stop, and give a simple pass. Like, every time you get the ball, it’s not a breakaway moment. We were so eager to attack. I would have liked to have seen a little more patience in the first half. We could have gotten a rhythm and we could have consistently broken them down.”

While the tempo might not have perfectly matched what would have best suited the game, you can’t argue with goals The Hounds weren’t perfect, but they found what they needed, when they needed it, against a seemingly-overmatched opponent, and will take some momentum forward into the next week.

Team captain Kenardo Forbes understood that ultimately, a good team doesn’t have to be perfect every week to get a good result; they just need to work hard and do enough. Forbes said, “This group is a really talented group. The togetherness is there. Hopefully we can do a lot of damage this season.”

Live Game Thread

FT Pittsburgh with what I would call a complete victory.

90′ SUBSTITUTION. RGV Toros’ Cerro, Ritondale, and Luna on for some other guys.

88′ SUBSTITUTION. Riverhounds Zwetsloot on for Rovira, Deshields on for Dikwa

83′ Kenny Forbes with a LASER of a shot from 27 yards out on right side of the box. It goes off the crossbar and out.

80′ Rovira gets another deadly cross right onto Dikwa’s head. Dude is dropping dimes tonight.

76′ SUBSTITUTION. RGV Toros’ player comes on for Christiano François.

74′ Goal, called offside by the AR. Dossantos with a beautiful looping slow cross of a volley from the instep of his foot finds a rising Albert Dikwa. The ref says Dikwa started his run a step early.

70′ SUBSTITUTION. RGV Toros swap Coronado on for Ricketts.

67′ SUBSTITUTION. Riverhounds make the triple substitution. Hogan, Blackstock, and Showunmi come on for Lopez, Kizza, and Biasi.

64′ RIVERHOUNDS GOAL. A ball comes in wide on a slanting cross and Kenardo Forbes heads it in for a second goal! It’s 2-0 to the home team.

61′ Free is blocked. The corner kick that ensues is claimed by GK Jahmali Waite.

60′ Hounds foul RGV maybe 8 inches outside of the box, and RGV have a free.

53′ Riverhounds facing their old pal Christiano François tonight. The Cheetah has been pretty quiet so far.

49′ RIVERHOUNDS GOAL. Luke Biasi dribbles to the end line inside the box, cuts it back with a pass at chest height. Albert Dikwa makes something out of a tough ball and power-chests it in! The Hounds go up 1-0! That makes Dikwa the 11th Hounds player with 20 goals as a Hound.

HT Analysis – It’s a low action, low chances match. But not because either team has been exceedingly defensive, but because the play has been a bit sloppy.

HT – Yinzer night entertainment. Or “entertainment.”

45+2′ Pittsburgh on a counter gets another shot, but Kizza hits it wide left.

45′ Tony Lopez hits the free kick and toinks it off the crossbar. The rebound comes to Dani Rovira on the right side, who strikes it well off target and low to the left. The Hounds leave their best opportunity of the half unfulfilled.

43′ YELLOW CARD, RGV TOROS. Jonathan Ricketts with the card. Gonna have to walk on eggshells going forward.

43′ Foul RGV, on the edge of the box, and the Hounds have a great opportunity to go up before the half here in Pittsburgh.

40′ Toros still on just one shot here in Pittsburgh. They are struggling to find the game.

38′ Nevermind. Kenny’s back on the pitch. Cancel the five-alarm whatever.

36′ Rain has stopped. Fans are back. Kenny Forbes is down and on the sideline.

29′ YELLOW CARD, RGV TOROS – Juan David Cabezas commits a rough tackle and draws the first card of the match.

24′ A good chance on a free kick for RGV is their first good look of the match for the Texans.

22′ The rain starts and the fans, of which there are a good amount, go scattering for under the stand. Everyone should buy more mulch and Armina granite countertops so that the Hounds can afford a covered stand in 2024 or 2025.

19′ Albert Dikwa breaks a tackle and closes on RGV keeper Tyler Deric and he makes an excellent save falling to his left.

17′ Hounds have a fourth corner. Great chance from Kenny, cleared away.

12′ RGV defender shephards the ball out to touch. Luke Biasi gives his a man a shove into the boards, hockey style.

6′ Hounds get two more corners. No result. Then the Hounds get a ground cross in the box that turns into a chance. Dikwa gets shoved down – no call.

4′ A corner to the Hounds, redirected to Dani Rovira who sends in a low cross. Albert Dikwa heads it high and wide.

1′ We are underway! Hounds missing Arturo Ordonez, Junior Etou, Robbie Mertz due to injury and suspension. Should be interesting to see if the Hounds can play well enough without the core of their regular starting midfield.

Starting Lineups

Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC: 3-4-1-2

GK Jahmali Waite; Nate Dossantos, Joe Farrell, Illal Osumanu, ; Luke Biasi, Kenardo Forbes, Mark Ybarra, Dani Rovira; Tony Lopez; Albert Dikwa, Edward Kizza

RGV Toros

Deric; Cabezas, Nodarse, Ackwei, Ricketts, Benitez; Davila, Torres, Ricky Ruiz, François, Cabrera

USL Championship

Riverhounds (1-1-3) vs. Rio Grande Valley FC Toros (1-0-3)

Saturday, April 15  |  7 p.m. |  Highmark Stadium

Odds: Hounds -105 / Draw +230 / Rio Grande Valley +260 (FanDuel)
TV: Pittsburgh’s CW
Streaming: ESPN+ (national), Pittsburgh’s CW (local)
Live statistics: USL Championship Match Center
Live updates: @RiverhoundsSC @JohnKrysinsky @ThompsonFoto12 @Soccer_Rabbi on Twitter

Match Updates From Highmark Stadium 

Look for starting line-ups, in-game updates/highlights and the rapid postgame recap to come on this match blog.

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Sounding Off on Soccer: Riverhounds SC’s Nate Dossantos on his soccer journey from Canada to Pittsburgh

Riverhounds MF Kenardo Forbes

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