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Riverhounds rally with late magic to defeat San Diego, 2-1

Pittsburgh Riverhounds forward Tola Showunmi scored a goal in the 2-1 win over the San Diego Loyal

Riverhounds SC Post Match Coverage on Pittsburgh Soccer Now is presented by The Bulldog Pub


PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Riverhounds fell behind in the first half with no shot on goal. They came back and improved on their attack, scoring two goals in the second half to win 2-1 over San Diego Loyal SC Saturday night at Highmark Stadium.

The win for the Riverhounds (8-2-6) increases their undefeated streak to nine games in the USL Championship, which stretches back to the end of April, and combined with Charleston’s 3-2 defeat vs Memphis, pushes Pittsburgh into the top spot in the Eastern Conference standings. The loss for the Loyal (6-5-5) is their second in the past five games, none of which have ended in a win, making it more than a month from their last victory.

“I just think we put more energy and we stuck after it in the second half,” Riverhounds head coach Bob Lilley said on the late win.

“We went pretty early, changed the formation and some of the subs came on and changed some of the dynamics. It was just a good team win.”

Neither team did much at all throughout the first half offensively. The only exception came for San Diego in the 42nd minute. Forward Adrien Perez moved down the right hand side of the field, got past Riverhounds defender Michael DeShields, cut into the middle of the field and released a vicious shot. Riverhounds goalkeeper Luis Zamudio got hands to the shot, but the power behind the strike put it into the back of the net, giving the Loyal a 1-0 lead.

Pittsburgh defender Nathan Dossantos suffered an injury in the 17th minute and had to come off as a result. San Diego defender Camden Reilly slide in and tackled Dossantos from behind, leading to a painful collision. Forward Langston Blackstock took his place.

The Riverhounds improved their attack in the second half and found the back of the net in the 69th minute to tie the match up at one goal a piece.

Midfielder Kenardo Forbes put in a short pass to fellow midfielder Marc Ybarra. Ybarra received the pass and somewhat shot/crossed it into the middle of the box, where forward Tola Showunmi was standing. Showunmi saw the ball and back-heeled it into the back of the net for a beautiful goal.

Showunmi, with that goal, makes it three out of the last four games that he has scored. Forward Albert Dikwa has missed the last five USL Championship matches, and Showunmi has stepped up in his absence.

On the goal, Showunmi said that the ball from Ybarra came behind him, so he just tried to flick it in and surprise the goalkeeper, which he did.

“It was a decent performance from myself and the team,” Showunmi said.

“I just tried to connect the play, tried to make runs in behind, try and stretch the defense. Overall, just try to help us possess more and make attacking chances really. I think I did a pretty good job of that today and hopefully, it’ll just continue to improve.”

Another injury for the Riverhounds came when DeShields could not continue and received medical attention. Defender Dani Rovira came in for DeShields in the 73rd minute.

Pittsburgh continued to press on the attack, while San Diego shied away from the game and failed to create any momentum.

After a few missed chances, the Riverhounds had a great chance to score in the 90th minute off a free kick. Loyal defender Kyle Adams held up Riverhounds forward Tony Lopez, which resulted in a yellow card and a great opportunity right outside the box.

Midfielder Burke Fahling took in the free kick, put in a stellar ball and found the head of defender Illal Osumanu, who put it into the back of the net to give the Riverhounds the lead.

Osumanu has hardly played this season, with just one appearance in the USL Championship back against Rio Grande Valley FC on April 15. He said that he just needed a chance to prove his worth.

Scoring the goal, Osumanu feels he proved he has what it takes to stay in the Starting XI.

“So before I went in [the box], I was supposed to be back [defending],” Osumanu said.

“I was kind of debating with the staff if I should go forward, so they told me to go ahead. So when I went up there, I knew the ball was going to be there and I put my head on it. It went in and I was happy to help the team.”

It was the first victory of the season where the Hounds came from behind after conceding first.

It is also the first time they’ve won a regular game after starting with a deficit since July 23, 2022, when the Riverhounds defeated Hartford Athletic on the road, 2-1, after giving up the first goal.

Pittsburgh stays at home for the second of their three-game homestand, as they host rival Louisville City FC on Saturday, July 1 at 7 p.m.

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Glory on the Grass

Riverhounds MF Kenardo Forbes

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