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Road Woes Continue for Hounds; Milan Iloski powers Orange County SC past Pittsburgh, 1-0

FINAL: Orange County SC 1, Riverhounds SC 0

USL Championship Match Center Stats 

The Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC were shut down by the hottest team in the USL Championship, Orange County SC, 1-0, on Wednesday night in Irvine, CA.

The hosts won its fifth straight on the strength of a goal late in the first half with a sudden strike that came off the foot of Milan Iloski, then held off Pittsburgh’s push for the equalizer.  It was the second straight road loss for Pittsburgh (13-5-8 | 47 points), who dropped to 3-4-5 (W-L-D) record away from home this season.

The Hounds tried to implement their will on the match early, bringing a high press with a pair of forwards Albert Dikwa and Tola Showunmi pushing up high, but OCSC played patiently through the back and width, and landing on very few of their early direct attempts toward the box.

Pittsburgh were also on the front end of physical play, as defender Joe Farrell picked up a yellow card in the 12th minute for a hard challenge.

Hounds crosses landed a few times in the first half but a pair of Albert Dikwa headers right at OCSC keeper Colin Shutter forced relatively easy saves.

Jahmali Waite was forced into action in the 28th minute as a dangerous ball OCSC took a few deflections, causing the Hounds’ keeper to dive to his left to deny a near own goal.

In the 30th minute, Hounds midfielder Danny Griffin’s shot from the top of the box hit an OCSC defender in the goal box… might have had the corner picked out if not for the block!

The Hounds continued to press, looking to force OSCC into a critical mistake, but things backfired for Pittsburgh in the 39th minute.  A long ball over the top followed as OCSC’s backline averted danger, finding the foot of the 2022 USL Championship Golden Boot winner, Iloski, who found a clear shot chance after a few short bounces and a deflection off Hounds’ defender Arturo Ordonez.  Iloski then slotted a well placed shot inside the right post to beat Waite and give OCSC the lead before the half.

At the half, the Hounds made one substitution, as Robbie Mertz entered for Farrell, who was sitting on a yellow card, which also allowed for the Hounds’ coach Bob Lilley to make some tactical adjustments.

Pittsburgh brought more pressure in the second half, starting with Marc Ybarra’s chance from 20 yards, but the former Michigan Wolverine curled it over the bar.

Another solid opportunity came for the Hounds when Junior Etou was taken down right at the edge of the box, as Bryce Jamison was given the yellow card for OC.  Despite Kenardo Forbes dangerous service to the near post, the Hounds’ couldn’t capitalize on the free kick chance that followed.

Just before stoppage time, Ybarra’s attempt from outside the box skirted through a few deflections, but Shutter was able to handle it, as well as a corner chance from an inswinging ball off the foot of Robbie Mertz.

Pittsburgh used the wide channels to bring pressure, with a total of 21 crosses, and forcing OCSC to make 27 clearances on the night.  Ultimately, the Hounds could not convert and failed to find many solid final passes or shot attempts in the last third.  Pittsburgh did hold a slight edge in shots (11-9, 3-3 on frame).

Next up, the RIverhounds will look to get back to winning ways on the road, with a visit to Hartford, on Wednesday, August 23.

Hounds Starters:

26 Waite GK
4 Rovira 70‎ DF
8 Etou 79‎ DF
6 Dossantos DF
15 Farrell 45‎ DF
5 Ordoñez DF
23 Ybarra 76‎ MF
2 Griffin MF
11 Forbes (C) 79‎ MF
24 Showunmi 70‎ FW
9 Albert Dikwa FW

Hounds Subs:  Robbie Mertz (45), JC Obregon and Edward Kizza (62), Trevor Zwetsloot and Luke Biasi (81)

Key halftime stats: Shots (PIT 4-1, 2-1 on target) Possession (OC 53%, PIT 47%) Crosses (PIT 9, OC 3) Corners (PIT2, OC 1)

Look for a more detailed recap to follow in the morning.

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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