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Pittsburgh Riverhounds

After blowing three-goal lead, JC Obregón’s strike lifts Riverhounds to wild 4-3 win at Hartford

File photo courtesy Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC

FINAL: Riverhounds 4, Harford 3

USL Championship Match Center Stats 

The Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC picked up an important three points on the road, beating last place Hartford, 4-3, in a match that turned into a wild one in the late stages, at Trinity Health Stadium in Hartford, CT, on Wednesday night.

The Hounds’ leading scorer Albert Dikwa jumped back into a tie for the lead in the race for the USL Championship’s Golden Boot, by notching two more goals to bring his total for the season to 14 in league play. However, after Pittsburgh increased its lead to 3-0, the Athletic came charging back with three goals to equalize the match.

Former Athletic forward, JC Obregon, who came on as a second half substitute for Dikwa, delivered the game winner one minute after the home side got the equalizer with a brilliant strike that found the upper right corner of the goal.

With the win, the Hounds (14-5-8 | W-L-D, 47 points) — can breathe a bit easier as they move six points ahead of second place Tampa Bay, and seven clear of Charleston.

Dikwa opened up the scoring in the 13th minute with a display of concentration to stay with a ball that bounced off the post, booting the ball upward, then heading it into goal.

Only five minutes later, Dikwa came through with his second goal in less than five minutes, again on the right side of the box — and putting through a second effort shot to give Pittsburgh a 2-0 lead.

The Hounds carried the two-goal advantage into the half, and in the early moments of the second half, midfielder Marc Ybarra, scored his first goal in his two seasons as a professional, on a header from close range.

Everything appeared to be going according to plan, as Pittsburgh held what seemed to be a convincing 3-0 lead into the 78th minute.

Then, inauspiciously, the Athletic got one back, as Matt Sheldon redirected a cross from the left side by skimming the ball with the top of his head to trick up Hounds keeper Jahmali Waite to cut the lead to 3-1.

With the momentum on its side, the home team kept coming — and two known Riverhounds killers did their part to bring the Athletic back.

First, Hartford’s captain, Danny Barrera slotted home a shot in the 81st minute that found the inside of the right post.

With the Hounds clinging to a 3-2 lead, Waite then came off his line in the 86th minute to play a ball in the air, but lost his collision, leaving an opening that former Harrisburg City Islander Antoine Hoppenot was happy to send a shot into the unprotected net.

Following the Athletic’s equalizer, Obregon didn’t waste any time to douse water all over the Hartford come-from-behind effort, with terrific control, turn and finish with an absolute brilliant strike from 16 yards that hit the upper right 90, for the game-winning goal.

The Riverhounds held on for the win, in what turned out to be an enthralling finish.

Bob Lilley’s club picked up its fourth road victory of the season, and will now travel to the Lone Star State to face San Antonio FC, the defending league champions, on Saturday night at 9 p.m.

Riverhounds SC lineup (5-3-2) — Jahmali Waite; Dani Rovira, Nate Dossantos (Junior Etou 65’), Arturo Ordóñez, Pat Hogan, Langston Blackstock (Luke Biasi 65’); Kenardo Forbes, Danny Griffin, Marc Ybarra (Robbie Mertz 65’); Edward Kizza (Joe Farrell 83’), Albert Dikwa (JC Obregón 70’)

Hartford Athletic lineup (3-5-2) — Joe Rice; Niall Logue (Danny Barrera 55’), Conor McGlynn, Triston Hodge (Kaveh Rad 69’); Matt Sheldon, Beverly Makangila (Juan Pablo Torres 55’), Andre Lewis, Edgardo Rito (Kembo Kibato 65’), Luke Merrill (Antoine Hoppenot 55’); Elvis Amoh, Prince Saydee

Scoring summary

PIT — Albert Dikwa 13’
PIT — Albert Dikwa 18’
PIT — Marc Ybarra 52’ (Dani Rovira)
HFD — Matt Sheldon 78’ (Juan Pablo Torres)
HFD — Danny Barrera 81’ (Antoine Hoppenot)
HFD — Antoine Hoppenot 86’
PIT — JC Obregón 88’ (Dani Rovira)

Discipline summary

HFD — Luke Merrill 38’ (caution – reckless foul)
HFD — Triston Hodge 43’ (caution – reckless foul)
HFD — Head coach Omid Namazi (caution – dissent)
PIT — Marc Ybarra 57’ (caution – reckless foul)
PIT — Dani Rovira 90+4’ (caution – delaying restart)
HFD — Kaveh Rad 90+7’ (caution – reckless foul)

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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