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Dikwa’s 10th goal lifts Hounds to road win at Louisville

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


The Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC went on the road and came away with three big points, defeating Louisville City FC, 1-0, on the strength of Albert Dikwa’s 10th goal of the season, at Lynn Family Stadium on Wednesday evening.

The Hounds’ extended its unbeaten streak to 12 games with its third straight shutout, and since Bob Lilley became head coach in 2018, it was the club’s fourth win at Louisville, as they jumped back into first place in the USL Championship’s Eastern Conference standings.  The last time Pittsburgh (9-2-8, 35 points) lost in league play, you would have to go back 85 days to mid-April.

After an action packed first half with chances for both sides and Pittsburgh coming up with four-out-of-four shots on frame, they visitors broke through in the 68th minute with their first goal in more than 240 minutes, displaying sharp passing and exceptional patience in a build-up that ended with Junior Etou picking up a wide cross from Dani Rovira.

The Hounds midfielder then slid a low ball into center of box for Dikwa, who used his left foot to redirect his shot into the left side of goal.

Pittsburgh held firm with another shutout, as goalkeeper Luis Zamudio made one save, as he’s posted three straight clean sheets with a club that he was loaned to from MLS’ DC United.

Lou City (8-5-5, 29 points) came into the match carrying a shutout streak, that lasted 383 minutes before the Dikwa goal.  The boys in purple carried 61 percent of possession, but could only put one of 11 shots on frame.

Pittsburgh carried more pressure into the final third, putting six of its nine shots on frame.

Look for a more detailed recap to follow. 

Big Dikwa Energy is Back in Business 

The Hounds leading scorer, Albert Dikwa has always been known for his hard work, and bringing big energy as the top of the formation.  Despite a few injuries, he continues his breakout season.

For the first time since late May, Dikwa started a match, having dealt with a clavicle injury early in the Hounds Open Cup defeat at FC Cincinnati.

Dikwa made his return in the second half vs Sacramento on Saturday, and came close to getting back into the scoring column.  On Wednesday, Dikwa made the most of this moment, to give the Hounds a 1-0 win.

With the goal, Dikwa moves back into the top line in the race for the USL Championship’s Golden Boot, as he’s even with Phoenix’s Manuel Arteaga with 10 goals apiece.

It was a clever finish, as the Cameroonian striker made a run toward the ball, flicking it past Oliver Semmle with his left foot.  Overall, Dikwa created one additional chance, had two shots, with the other one hitting the side netting.  His work rate was superb as usual, winning 8 of 15 duels against an experienced and tough back line that had anchored some impressive defensive play in the past month.

First Half Full of Chances

While the Hounds and Louisville played to a scoreless first half, it was still a first half full of chances.  In fact, Pittsburgh had four chances and four shots on frame.

A couple of chances came off the right foot of Langston Blackstock, including this laser in the 23rd minute.

In the 37th minute, Blackstock side-footed an effort on goal, and Louisville keeper Oliver Semmle punched it right back. but the ball rolled away from the box.

In first half stoppage time, Mertz played Etou through, but Semmle makes the save off his line! Ybarra with the second effort, and that gets deflected wide, too. So close!

Early in the second half, the first shot that wasn’t officially on frame, came from midfielder Robbie Mertz, who hit his shot off the right post following a well played ball in from Dikwa,

Hounds Needed Some Breaks to Keep Clean Sheet Streak Going 

Meanwhile, Louisville had a few moments where they could have broken through.  Pittsburgh was fortunate that on two sequences that referee Greg Dopka decided to let things play on.

The first came in the 43rd minute, when Illan Osumanu and Pat Hogan converged with Lou City forward Cam Lancaster in the box, with the veteran forward getting knocked to the ground.  It was a clever pass through by Ray Serrano, but the referee ruled that the break up on the play was fair.

in the second half, the Hounds also caught a break when an apparent handball in the box was not called on A Louisville cross from Mushagalusa from inside the box along the left end line.

Another big play came in the 79th minute, when Hounds midfielder Danny Griffin came up with with the last-ditch block on the goal line to keep Wes Charpie from equalizing in close.

Very late in the match, three minutes into stoppage time, Hounds’ sub Trevor Zwetsloot lunged in to deflect Brian Ownby’s chance over the bar.

Still, Pittsburgh’s 5-4-1 formation and shape bottled things up effectively, and they were also pressing Louisville enough to disrupt their rhythm.  With the home side generating only one shot on frame, Pittsburgh were still very tough to solve for a Louisville club that has struggled to score all season long, posting just 18 goals in 18 games.  This was the second straight match which Pittsburgh shut out Louisville, as the teams played to a nil-nil draw 10 days ago at Highmark Stadium.

Next Up

The Hounds will return home for a quick turnaround, as they’ll look to extend their shutout and unbeaten streaks when they face Detroit City FC for the first time this season, at Highmark Stadium on Saturday night (7 p.m. kickoff).

Lineup Notes 

  • It was Danny Griffin’s 100th match with the Hounds.  The former Providence College standout is the 15th player to reach this mark with the club. 
  • Forbes — came off the bench for the first time in league play in ’23
  • Mertz & Dikwa return to the 11 for the first time in more than a month

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).

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Glory on the Grass

Riverhounds MF Kenardo Forbes

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