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Lackluster Riverhounds drop season opener to New Mexico, 1-0

Photo courtesy New Mexico United

A late first half goal in transition was enough for New Mexico United to hand the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC a season opening 1-0 loss on Saturday afternoon at Isotopes Park.

FINAL: New Mexico United 1, Riverhounds 0

In the 44th minute, New Mexico’s Greg Hurst broke behind the Hounds back line, cleverly dribbling around a charging goalkeeper Eric Dick and poking the ball through for the goal that was the difference in the match.

The Riverhounds were outpossessed by 68%-32% margin, as New Mexico also held the shots advantage, 5-3 (5-1 on target), as Dick made four saves in his debut with Pittsburgh.

Robbie Mertz became the 17th player to reach 100 games played with the Hounds

First half

The Hounds had the first chances of the game little more than a minute in, as Kenardo Forbes nearly found himself with a clear path to goal before New Mexico conceded the corner kick. From the corner, the ball came to the feel of Danny Griffin at the top of the box, but his shot through traffic was saved by Tambakis.

New Mexico gained the edge after the early stages, and Dick made a pair of excellent saves to keep the match scoreless, parrying away Jacobo Reyes’ shot in the 15th minute and moving across his goal to deny a header by Harry Swartz in the 20th minute.

But the home team pulled ahead in the 44th minute when Reyes slipped a low pass between the Hounds’ center backs to Hurst, who received the ball in stride, dribbled around Dick and got just enough on the shot to roll it into the net before the Hounds could recover.

Second half

The Hounds tightened up defensively in the second half, allowing the hosts just one shot after halftime, but creating chances remained a challenge.

The team’s best chances came late in the match. In the 85th minute, Sean Suber lifted a cross into the box from the right side, and Edward Kizzawas able to get open on the receiving end, but his headed attempt was slightly off-balance and missed to the right of the goal.

Three minutes later, the Hounds won a corner kick — one of eight in the match to just three for New Mexico — and the ball popped high in the air to Langston Blackstock at the top of the penalty area. He struck a shot on the volley, and it took a slight deflection on its way to goal, going right to the hand of Tambakis.

The Hounds will return to Pittsburgh for the home opener next Saturday, March 16, vs Tulsa (7 p.m. kickoff).


Look for more coverage to follow — including reaction and analysis in the coming days.

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).

Glory on the Grass

Riverhounds MF Kenardo Forbes

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