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Riverhounds come up empty again in scoreless draw at North Carolina

Photo courtesy North Carolina FC / Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC

The Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC ended three game in eight day swing on a hot summer night in Cary, North Carolina — playing North Carolina FC to a scoreless draw at WakeMed Park on Saturday.

The result extended Pittsburgh winless streak to eight matches, and without a goal, the Hounds remain at the bottom of the league in total goals scored, with 11 and worst in conversion rate (8%).

By picking up a point, the Hounds remain three points behind North Carolina, who are holding on to the eighth spot on the playoff line in the USL Championship’s Eastern Conference standings.

In his third straight start, goalkeeper Jacob Randolph registered his first-ever professional clean sheet despite not having to make a save.

Pittsburgh and North Carolina played to a scoreless first half with just four total shots registered — none on target and all of them were blocked.

The Hounds best attacking moments during the first half came as Junior Etou proved to be a menace down the left side, as he twice got around the edge and was pulled down just outside of the box. 

Robbie Mertz served both free kicks; the first was cleared by a McGuire punch.

The next came in first half stoppage time attempt when Mertz’s free kick from the left end line was delivered on the ground to the top of the box for Etou, who’s shot attempt was blocked.

Pittsburgh’s — and the match’s — first shots on frame didn’t come until late in the second half when substitutes Enoch Mushagala and Bradley Sample had quality chances in the 84th and 85th minutes.

Sample’s one-time volley attempt from behind the arc — coming on a corner kick served by Kenardo Forbes — was saved by NCFC keeper Jake McGuire.

In a match where neither side was willing to concede much, with plenty of hard challenges on both sides, six total yellow cards and handful of fouls (39 total), both teams were forced to make substitutions in the first half, due to injuries.

Pittsburgh’s Pierre Cayet came on very late in first half stoppage time, as defender Pat Hogan opened up his head wound from an injury that took place three days earlier in loss to Louisville City FC.

For NCFC, Rodrigo da Costa left the match with an injury, as Evan Conway came on for him in the 37th minute.

Pittsburgh had five total shots, with two on frame, while North Carolina’s seven shot attempts didn’t test Randolph.

Forbes came off the bench to move into sole possession of the USL Championship record for appearances with his 278th match played.

Next up for the Hounds – they’ll stay on the road when they visit Las Vegas, next Saturday, at 10:30 p.m.

Look for a more detailed recap to follow. 

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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Riverhounds MF Kenardo Forbes

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