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Rotated Hounds fall to Tulsa in 2024 Open Cup debut

FINAL: Pittsburgh Riverhounds 0-1 FC Tulsa

Heavily-rotated Hounds fall in uninspired effort against Tulsa in 2024 Open Cup debut

After a stunning 2023 U.S. Open Cup run with multiple upsets, it was a much more disappointing campaign for the Riverhounds in 2024, as they exited in their first game with a loss to FC Tulsa in the Round of 32.

The first half largely saw the two USL Championship sides feeling each other out, with two heavily-rotated lineups struggling to find the flow of the match. The Hounds lineup, featuring a fully rotated starting XI, ultimately generated the better opportunities of the half – primarily coming from forward EJ Johnson – with Tulsa’s primary chance coming from a late counter flurry before the halftime whistle.

The first chance of the game came in unexpected fashion just five minutes in. As EJ Johnson ran at the retreating Tulsa defense on a quickfire counter, he fired a shot from the left side of goal – which should have been an easy pick up for Tulsa’s keeper, but trickled through his legs and very fortunately for him went slightly wide of the net.

Near the 20 minute mark, EJ Johnson continued to provide a threat on the left wing. A dangerous through ball from midfield found him running at the last line of Tulsa’s defense once again, where he was able to fire in a cross right in front of goal but unfortunately missed everybody on the way through. He’d get another chance a few moments later, with another run in behind resulting in a tight-angle shot that went wide left.

Tulsa’s best chance of the half came just before the whistle. A ball played from left back to the central midfield was subject to an interception attempt by Jackson Walti, who couldn’t reach the pass in time and was left badly out of position. Tulsa’s attack ran at the Hounds back line with a numerical advantage, but the shot attempt was ultimately blocked out for a corner – taken and cleared by the Hounds as the halftime whistle blew.

We’d have to wait quite a while before the second half saw the opening goal, but with plenty of action in-between. Tulsa generated the first meaningful chance after the break, just prior to the hour mark when Milo Yosef got on the end of a corner kick for the visitors and directed his effort into the net – but the Hounds were saved by the offsides flag.

Following a pair of Hounds subs bringing Junior Etou and Danny Griffin onto the pitch, the tide rapidly turned. Etou, as he has done all season, generated dangerous runs and crosses – creating several opportunities for his teammates in the box, including deflected shots from within the 18 for Bradley Sample and Langston Blackstock.

Unfortunately for the Hounds, however, the visitors would generate the first and only change to the scoreboard on the night. Following some stoppage for injuries, Tulsa restarted play with a long throw-in from the near sideline all the way into the box. After bouncing around several pairs of feet, it fell ultimately to the always dangerous Phillip Goodrum, who fired it home to the far post for the game-winning goal.

With the Hounds unable to answer despite seven minutes of stoppage and the entry of several usual starters to the game, Tulsa secured the win and their advancement to the Round of 16, where they’ll face the winner of Union Omaha and Sporting Kansas City. For the Hounds, it marks the rapid end of their 2024 U.S. Open Cup campaign, as full focus shifts back to the league on Saturday – this time on the road against Tulsa once again.

Match Events

Pittsburgh Riverhounds starters: Gabriel Perrotta (GK), Sean Suber, Langston Blackstock, EJ Johnson, Aidan O’Toole, Bradley Sample, Nate Dragisich, Jake Kent-Loop, Babacar Diene, Jackson Walti, Pierre Cayet

Subs: Jacob Randolph (GK), Danny Griffin, Pat Hogan, Junior Etou, Robbie Mertz, Edward Kizza, Mike DeShields

FC Tulsa starters: Joey Roggeveen (GK), Camilo Ponce, Phillip Goodrum, Milo Yosef, Rashid Tetteh, Patrick Seagrist, Bradley Bourgeois (c), Aaron Kacinari, Justin Portillo, Harvey St. Clair, Diogo Pacheco

Subs: Michael Creek, Boubacar Diallo, Blaine Ferri, Edwin Laszo, Stefan Stojanovic, Alex Dalou, Sebastian Sanchez

Key moments: 

0′ – The players take to the field. Hounds in their home blacks, FC Tulsa in their road pinks. A fully rotated eleven for the Hounds tonight, and we’ll see what they do starting now!

5′ – A quick Hounds counter-attack turns into a shot on-target for EJ Johnson, which should be an easy save for Tulsa’s GK but it slips through his legs and narrowly goes wide of goal!

15′ – Both heavily-rotated sides struggling to maintain possession and generate threats. A few corners for the Hounds yet to amount to much danger.

30′ – A yellow for Tulsa’s Rashid Tetteh as Diene is dragged down during a promising counter that results in a just-wide Johnson shot.

45′ – And with a late flurry from Tulsa, we reach the break at Highmark. The Hounds fend off the half-chances and we enter halftime 0-0.

Halftime: Pittsburgh Riverhounds 0-0 FC Tulsa

57′ – Best chance of the night for Tulsa, as their corner does find the back of the net from Yosef Milo – but the AR’s flag comes to the rescue with an easy offsides call.

59′ – A pair of Hounds substitutions. EJ Johnson subs off injured, and Nate Dragisich also comes off. On come Junior Etou and Danny Griffin as Bob Lilley looks for more here tonight.

62′ – Immediate impact from the subs, forcing a turnover and playing a few dangerous passes to generate a shot for Langston Blackstock, out for an ultimately cleared corner.

66′ – Tulsa substitution: Patrick Seagrist off, Boubacar Diallo on.

68′ – A Babacar Diene header flashes just wide of the near post after a cross from the right wing.

74′ – Another dangerous run from Junior Etou on the left wing – a habit this season – turns into a pull-back towards Bradley Sample, who’s shot is deflected and cleared.

75′ – Sub for Tulsa: Pacheco off, on comes Stefan Stojanovic.

79′ – After briefly going down for injury, Diene comes off for the Hounds. On comes Edward Kizza.

87′ – Two subs for FC Tulsa: Off are Milo Yosef and Rashid Tetteh. On are Blaine Ferri and Alexander Dalou.

88′ – Goal, Tulsa. A throw-in off the restart into the box and it falls to Phillip Goodrum after bouncing around, he fires it home to give Tulsa the lead.

89′ – Pittsburgh sub, Robbie Mertz on for Aidan O’Toole

90′ – A yellow card for Tulsa, #5 Camilo Ponce

FINAL: Pittsburgh Riverhounds 0-1 FC Tulsa

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