Riverhounds SC Post Match Coverage on Pittsburgh Soccer Now is presented by The Bulldog Pub
FINAL: Riverhounds 2, Monterey Bay FC 2
Match Stats: USL Championship Match Center
Take away stoppage time, the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC — by and large — outplayed Monterey Bay FC Union for 90 minutes led by a brace from Albert Dikwa, but it wasn’t enough, as the opportunistic hosts battled back for goals at the end of both halves from former Hounds Alex Dixon and Christian Volesky, as a dramatic match ended in a 2-2 draw at Cardinale Stadium in Monterey, CA on Friday night.
With the draw, the Hounds record now stands at 2-2-5 in league play, good for 11 points and a tie for fourth place in the USL Championship’s Eastern Conference standings.
“For us, we did good things on the ball. Got two goals. Had two leads, but it’s disappointing,” Riverhounds SC Head Coach Bob Lilley said.
“We have to do a better job closing games out.”
The match wraps up the season’s early league stretch of games for the Hounds on the road, as seven of its first nine contests have been away from home. The Hounds have posted a 1-2-4 record on the road during this stretch.
For Monterey Bay, they remain unbeaten in league play (and in all competitions) since April 1, scoring two goals in a match where they had just four shots total.
“I thought we were flat in the first half. When you put on guys that have not played together as much, it’s always a weird one – especially against a team that’s decent and difficult to play against.”
Monterey Bay’s veteran Head Coach, Frank Yallop said after the match.
“The good news is we scored right at the end of the half, which, thank goodness we did to get us back in it.”
The Hounds jumped into the lead in the 16th minute, when Kenardo Forbes won a 50-50 ball near midfield, then the 34-year old midfielder burst forward to lead the transition effort into the edge of the box where he laid off a ball to the right for Dikwa, who put his shot through the legs of MBFC keeper Antony Siaha.
It was the first assist of the season for Forbes, the USL Championship’s all-time leading assist man, who now has 56 on his career.
The Hounds held the Union to one shot for the first 44 minutes, but the hosts capitalized right before first half stoppage time began, when Volesky short chipped a pass to Dixon, who delivered a one-time finish to catapult past Dikwa for the league lead in goals — for the moment — with his seventh of the season.
“We built up play down the right side. Morey [Doner] put a ball in, Volesky got a touch to it. I kind of anticipated it and was able to bring it down. Then I saw the keeper kind of cheating, so I just dinked it a little bit and luckily it went in,” Dixon said.
Here's another look at Alex Dixon's goal against Pittsburgh (his former club)
That's 7️⃣ for Dixon so far this season: pic.twitter.com/3y5CiI0LhA
— Maxwell Glenn (@maxwellsglenn) May 6, 2023
“It’s always nice to score against a former team. I know some of the guys over there weren’t happy about it, but it felt good.”
The Hounds created another scoring chance in the 58th minute when Luke Biasi was fouled along the end line, but Dikwa’s penalty kick chance was saved by Siaha to keep the match level at 1-1.
Known for his non-stop work rate, Dikwa wasn’t done, and was rewarded in the 74th minute when the Hounds kept a corner kick effort alive. Dikwa was there for his second goal on the night from a tough angle to give the Hounds the lead, after Arturo Ordonez’s redirected header was deflected.
With the goal, Dikwa once again thrust himself into the league lead in goals scored with his former teammate, Dixon, as each ended the night with seven goals apiece.
As the Hounds brought substitutions on, and both sides used their full allotment of players for the match, Monterey Bay struck again when Adrian Rebollar made a run up the right endline, then sent a ball the near post, where Volesky, who scored three goals and had two assists in the month of April, was there, beating the next closest Hound to give the home side the equalizing goal a few minutes into stoppage time.
Volesky’s goal came on his team’s fourth shot attempt in the match, as Monterey Bay continue to defy logic by remaining the top scoring team in USLC despite having taken the fewest shot attempts. The Union lead the league in goals scored (17), yet have the fewest shots taken (61), for an astounding 35% conversion rate.
Pittsburgh had one very late chance when Luke Biasi made a run into the box after a Marc Ybarra throw in, but his shot sailed high over the bar, and the match ended in a 2-2 draw.
The Hounds outshot Monterey, 11-4 (4-2 on frame), while the hosts did own the considerable possession edge (61/39).
The match also featured the return of Danny Griffin to the Riverhounds, after his transfer back from Huntsville FC of MLS Next Pro, as he started and played the full 90-plus minutes.
Despite a rejuvenated attack that posted two road goals for the first time since early March, Pittsburgh head back east having to deal with another lead lost.
“Unfortunately, we’re in a bit of funk with giving away points from winning positions,” Lilley added.
“And that’s hard to do anywhere. We’ve got to be able to make those points stick. Unfortunately, we’re not quite getting it over the line, though the performance overall was pretty solid tonight.”
Next up, the Hounds will travel back East to prepare for its US Open Cup Fourth Round match at the New England Revolution, on Tuesday night in Foxborough, MA (7 p.m. kickoff).
Thanks to Riverhounds SC media director Matt Grubba for providing post match comments from Coach Lilley. Look for more on this match over the weekend on Pittsburgh Soccer Now, including Takeaways and Player Grades.
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
Monterey Bay F.C. 1 1 2
Riverhounds SC 1 1 2
PIT: Albert Dikwa (Kenardo Forbes) 16’
MB: Alex Dixon (Christian Volesky) 44’
PIT: Albert Dikwa 74’
MB: Christian Volesky (Adrian Rebollar) 90+1’
Monterey Bay F.C. (4-2-3-1): Antony Siaha; Grant Robinson (Max Glasser 27’), Alex Lara (Chuy Enríquez 38’), Kai Greene, Morey Doner; James Murphy, Mobi Fehr; Jason Johnson (Walmer Martínez 45’), Alex Dixon (Ugo Okoli 68’), Adrian Rebollar; Christian Volesky
Subs not used: Carlos Herrera, Simon Dawkins, Jesse Maldonado
Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC (3-5-2): Jahmali Waite; Luke Biasi, Nathan Dossantos (Marc Ybarra 59’), Patrick Hogan, Arturo Ordoñez; Kenardo Forbes, Trevor Zwetsloot (Joseph Farrell 83’), Daniel Griffin; Langston Blackstock (Micael DeShields 78’), Albert Dikwa, Robbie Mertz (Edward Kizza 78’)
Subs not used: Christian Garner, Tony Lopez, Tola Showunmi
Stats Summary: MB / PIT
Shots: 4 / 11
Shots on Goal: 2 / 4
Saves: 2 / 0
Corner Kicks: 3 / 3
Fouls: 14 / 12
Possession: 60.6% / 39.4%
MB: Alex Lara (caution) 36’
PIT: Nate Dossantos (caution) 57’
PIT: Head Coach Bob Lilley (caution) 58’