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Riverhounds play Charleston Battery to tightly contested nil-nil draw

Photo courtesy Charleston Battery

In a tightly contested match on a very warm night in the low country, USL Championship’s longest running rivals, Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC and Charleston Battery played to nil-nil draw at Patriots Point Soccer Complex in Charleston, SC, on Saturday night.

The result keeps the Hounds (3-5-5, 14 points) winless in their last five league matches.

Despite conceding the possession battle, Pittsburgh carried numerous possessions deep into the final third, but once again, the failed to convert on a few big chances.

Danny Griffin nearly got the go-ahead goal in the 11th minute, after taking a one-time shot from 20 yards off a previously deflected Junior Etou chance.

Late in the second half, a pair of subs, nearly connected for the Hounds, when Pierre Cayet’s left footed cross from the corner, found Kenardo Forbes in perfect position in the middle of the box, but Forbes’ header chance sailed just left of goal. That was the same number of shots turned away by Battery goalkeeper Daniel Kuzemka.

Hounds keeper Eric Dick came up with three saves to pick up the clean sheet, as the Hounds limited Charleston’s chances to difficult angle shots in and outside the box.

Pittsburgh will stay on the road, traveling to Hartford next Saturday, still seeking their fourth win of the season.


First half
The Battery held 66 percent of possession in the match, but much of it was in the defending half and at midfield, as the two teams combined for just 29 touches inside the opponent’s box.
But it was from outside the box that the Hounds nearly scored early, after Junior Etou’s initial shot was blocked in the 11th minute. The ball caromed into the path of Danny Griffin, who struck a hard shot from 20 yards away and forces a diving save from Kuzemka to push the ball out for a corner.
Kazaiah Sterling hit another powerful shot on a half-volley near the half-hour mark, but the driven ball was straight at the goalkeeper.
Charleston didn’t record a shot until the 27th minute, but Juan Torres put a tricky, knuckling shot on goal minutes later that Dick had to parry into the ground for Pat Hogan to clear.
Second half
Defenses continued to rule the day, but the Battery nearly got a scrappy goal in the 74th minute when Graham Smith turned a ball toward goal as he bumped into Dick near the goal line, and the Hounds goalkeeper did just enough to push the ball away.
The Hounds nearly stole a 90th-minute winner through a pair of players who came off the bench.Pierre Cayet worked down the left side and placed a cross perfectly, and that allowed Kenardo Forbes to beat his defender to the ball and hit a firm header that missed just to the left of the goal.
The Battery had one free kick chance in stoppage time, but Torres opted to go for goal from just over 20 yards out, and the shot was caught easily by Dick.  

Match Log

90′ — only two minutes of stoppage time

90′ — Pierre Cayet sets up Kenardo Forbes with a chance from a left footed cross — on a platter — but Forbes’ header goes wide! Another missed big chance for the Hounds.

85′ — With additional subs, Hounds alter formation a bit going with 5 in the back now.

81′ — SUB — HOUNDS

  • IN: Luke Biasi, Pierre Cayet
  • OUT: Langston Blackstock, Pat Hogan

75′ – Edward Kizza picks up a yellow card for missing on a challenge into Mark Segbers near the center stripe.

67′ – Gutierrez on probably his first touch of the ball tries a volley from a sharp angle for the Battery. He hits it with power, but it sails over the bar.

56′ — SUBS for Hounds

  • IN: Bradley Sample and Kenardo Forbes
  • OUT: Robbie Mertz and Jackson Walti

54′ – Etou gets position on Segbers and draws the foul near the Battery box. Hounds go quickly and whip a ball in, but Charleston clears.

52′ – Mertz has a try from the top of the 18 as the defender doesn’t close out, but he doesn’t place it well enough and it’s saved by the keeper.

51′ – Jackson Walti receives the match’s first yellow card. He broke up the transition by the Battery at midfield after the Hounds lost the ball on their own attack.

HALF — PITTSBURGH 0, CHARLESTON 0

The Hounds should be somewhat encouraged with this effort through 45 minutes, but again, its much of the same script, still nothing to show for it.

Stats:

Possession — CHS 68% / PIT 32%

Shots – CHS 7 PIT 6 (on target PIT 2 CHS 1)

30′ — Through 30 minutes — Hounds being outpossessed 70/30, but are more ambitious and aggressive in final third – with 6-1 (2-0 on target) shots edge. They’re knocking on the door again.

11′ — First Junior Etou’s shot in the box is blocked, but Danny Griffin gets the deflection from just outside the box — and sends a rocket that forces a diving save!  The Hounds captain feeling his oats after scoring one from there last week.

Starting Lineups

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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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