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Pittsburgh Riverhounds

Surging Hounds secure third-straight victory in 1-0 shutout over Miami

Photo courtesy Ed Thompson

FINAL: Pittsburgh Riverhounds 1-0 The Miami FC

USL Championship Match Center – Box Score 

Surging Hounds keep another clean sheet en route to third consecutive win

While the weather was unpleasant for the 4,172 in attendance on Saturday night, the soccer was far from it as the Riverhounds continued their march up the standings with their fifth-consecutive match taking points and their third-straight win.

It took a little while for the Hounds to get into the swing of things in the first half, with the first 15 minutes of play roughly even between themselves and the visitors from Miami with few real chances to speak of. That rapidly changed moments later with the Hounds cycling possession in the attacking third.

As the ball cycled around from the right back to the left wing, it found the feet of Junior Etou. The left winger took the ball towards the corner flag, sized up his defender, and pulled off a stunning nutmeg to beat him before rocketing a low ball across the face of goal. With multiple Hounds players lurking, Kazaiah Sterling got on the end of it and steered it in easily for his second goal of the season, giving the Hounds an early 1-0 advantage.

The Hounds would generate several more positive chances shortly after the half-hour mark. The first came as Edward Kizza was played in behind the last defender on a through ball from midfield. While physically holding off that defender, Kizza tried to dribble past the onrushing Miami goalkeeper, but was finally dispossessed before he could fire off a shot.

The 41st minute provided another seemingly impossible-to-miss chance for the hosts, as multiple Hounds players got cracks at goal within the Miami box. Dani Rovira fired a shot on-target and parried away by the keeper, with Robbie Mertz firing a secondary effort that was deflected. After several more attempts, blocks, and deflections, Miami finally cleared the ball away.

Ultimately, the visitors would manage to hold on and enter the break down just one, but with the Hounds having dominated play offensively and defensively – with Miami generating just one attempt and none on-target. A pair of yellow cards rounded out a difficult half for Miami, and another positive half for a still-improving Hounds team.

After one halftime change – with Sterling coming off for Bradley Sample – both teams registered much quicker starts to the second half. Miami had a real chance in the 52nd minute as Eric Dick came charging out of goal on a long ball from the visitors, but was beat to the ball by Miami’s forward. Thankfully, some defensive pressure prevented the open net goal, with the shot ending up well wide.

The Hounds got a huge opportunity of their own at the hour mark, as Danny Griffin forced a turnover in midfield and quickly countered into the Miami box. After an initial chance, the ball fell loose near the six-yard box and Griffin was there to try and stab it home, only to be deterred by a sliding Miami defender.

Miami would generate two more meaningful opportunities. The first coming from a free kick near midfield, placed into a dangerous area in the box and headed towards goal, but Erick Dick was on hand to safely parry it over the crossbar. The second came as one of many Miami long balls finally fell to an unmarked forward, who was one-on-one with Eric Dick from a tight angle on the left wing. The difficult shot was put well wide of goal, and Miami wouldn’t meaningfully threaten the Hounds goal again.

Ultimately, the Hounds held on and once again left a zero on the scoreboard defensively, their fourth in five matches with just one goal conceded over that span of three wins and two draws. While it felt impossible for the Hounds to have failed to find a second goal, one was enough to secure their third-consecutive win as they continue their meteoric rise back up the Eastern Conference standings.

With the struggling early form of the first few matches of the year firmly in the rearview, things continue to trend upwards for the Hounds as they enter a midweek contest on Tuesday in the U.S. Open Cup round of 32 against FC Tulsa.

Match Events

Pittsburgh Riverhounds starters: Eric Dick (GK), Danny Griffin (c), Pat Hogan, Dani Rovira, Junior Etou, Kenardo Forbes, Luke Biasi, Robbie Mertz, Edward Kizza, Illal Osumanu, Kazaiah Sterling

Subs: Sean Suber, Langston Blackstock, Aidan O’Toole, Gabriel Perrotta, Bradley Sample, Babacar Diene, Jackson Walti

The Miami FC starters: Frank Lopez, Allen Gavilanes, Mattia Gagliardi, Rocco Genzano, Andrew Booth, Gabriel Cabral, Jordan Ayimbila, Nicolas Cardona (c), Daniel Barbir, Daltyn Knutson, Daniel Gagliardi

Subs: Felipe Rodriguez, Chris Jean-Francois, Roberto Molina, Alejandro Mitrano, Manuel Botta, Lucas DePaula, David Mejia

Key moments: 

0′ – The players take to the field. Hounds in their home blacks, The Miami FC in road orange. And following a moment of silence in honor of Hounds owner Tuffy Shallenberger’s father, who passed away earlier this week, we are underway at Highmark Stadium!

10′ – An even-keeled battle so far. Both teams exchanging possession and countering in turn – but no meaningful chances for either side thus far.

16′ – GOAL HOUNDS! 1-0 Pittsburgh! Kazaiah Sterling scores his second of the season on a stellar run, nutmeg, and assist from Junior Etou!

19′ – Corner, Miami, as Luke Biasi blocks the attempted shot. Etou involved again as he is able to clear the ball out of danger.

23′ – A brief stoppage for an injury to Sterling, who fell hard face-first into a Miami midfielder after being fouled. Ultimately back to his feet and back into play.

32′ – Yellow card to Miami FC’s Nicolas Cardona for a counter-attack stopping handball as Kizza attempted to blow by him.

34′ – A missed chance for Kizza as he beats his defender, gets on the end of a through-ball, and attempts to dribble the Miami GK, but is hassled off the ball.

35′ – Several minutes of stoppage here as Miami’s forward goes down on fairly marginal contact, but seems to be legitimately hurting and is ultimately helped off.

38′ – Miami corner after a solid right-wing run. Eric Dick comes up large in goal to punch the in-swinger away, which ultimately rolls out for a goal kick.

40′ – Another yellow card issued to Miami FC’s Rocco Genzano for a hard challenge on Kenardo Forbes. Second of the half for Miami.

41′ – A chaotic sequence for the Hounds as the cross from the left wing ends up in the box with multiple Hounds getting cracks at goal – all either parried by the keeper, blocked, or deflected, and ultimately cleared away.

42′ – Another opportunity for the Hounds with a ball into the box, resulting in a collision with Miami’s keeper and a foul.

Halftime: The Hounds enter the break up 1-0 on the brilliant assist from Etou and subsequent goal from Sterling. Pittsburgh picking up where it left off with another strong performance thus far.45′ – Both teams are back out after the break and we are underway in the second half!

45′ – One halftime substitution for the Hounds: Kazaiah Sterling off, Bradley Sample on. A potential knock-on from Sterling’s first-half injury?

51′ – Hounds corner, first attacking chance of the half for either side. Taken short and unable to be controlled effectively, out for a goal kick.

52′ – A narrow dodging of the bullet for the Hounds as Erick Dick comes charging out of goal, but the slowly bouncing ball is reached by a Miami attacker first, who puts it wide of the open net under pressure.

54′ – Another half-decent chance for the Hounds, as their corner kick is taken to the back post. The ball is headed very dangerous right across goal, but there are only orange jerseys there and it is cleared away from danger.

57′ – Miami substitution: Off comes Mattia Gagliardi, on comes Roberto Molina.

58′ – Corner, Miami. Over everybody and ultimately out for a goal kick.

60′ – Huge chance for the hounds! A turnover is forced by Danny Griffin, the ball is pushed into the box and ends up free with an open net. Danny Griffin gets a stab at the loose ball and it’s only stopped by a sliding Miami defender at the last moment. Miami narrowly avoiding going down two there.

65′ – Best chance for Miami thus far. The free kick from midfield is headed towards goal, very near the crossbar, and Dick parries it over safely.

70′ – Another golden chance missed, Kizza’s initial effort is parried and falls straight to Forbes. He blasts a shot towards goal and its deflected out for a corner that ultimately is cleared.

74′ – A pair of Hounds subs: Rovira and Kizza off, Langston Blackstock and Babacar Diene on.

75′ – And a Miami FC sub as well: Alejandro Mitrano on, Rocco Genzano off.

80′ – Another chance for Miami as one of their long balls finally pays off. One of their forwards gets onto the end of it, is one-on-one with Dick at a tight angle, and fires it well away from goal.

85′ – Miami substitution: Galivanes off, Botta on for the visitors.

88′ – Subs for the Hounds: On come Aidan O’Toole and Jackson Walti, off go Forbes and Mertz.

FINAL: Pittsburgh Riverhounds 1-0 The Miami FC

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