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Pittsburgh Riverhounds

Riverhounds run of futility continues in 2-0 loss at Las Vegas

Photo courtesy Ryan Shaffer/Riverhounds SC

FINAL: Las Vegas 2, Riverhounds 0

USL Championship Match Center

The Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC attempted to end its scoring drought with a trip to the oasis in the desert, but came up short once again, losing to Las Vegas Lights, 2-0, on the strength of Khori Bennett’s brace on Saturday night at Cashman Field in Downtown Las Vegas, NV.

With the loss, the Hounds (3w-8l-6d, 15 points) continue an unprecedented run of futility, as they extend their winless streak to nine matches with its third loss in the past four and fifth defeat in the last seven.  Pittsburgh has been shutout for the last five matches, and haven’t scored a goal in nearly 500 minutes of play, stretching back to June 1, when Danny Griffin scored from beyond the 18 in a 2-1 loss to Indy Eleven.

With the win, the Lights FC (5w-7l-6d, 20 points) extended its unbeaten streak to six matches as they battle to stay within the playoff line in the Western Conference.

In the first half, the Riverhounds had three shot attempts, with none on target, though Enoch Mushagalusa, making his second start since joining the club last week, took a run from outside the box in the 25th minute, was blocked.

While the Hounds defended well in the first 40 minutes, despite conceding 60 percent possession to the Lights FC, the home side caught the break needed to get the go-ahead goal when Khori Bennett was played a perfectly squared ball across the box from former Pitt topman, Valentin Noël.

Bennett drove a shot that was deflected by a couple of Hounds’ defenders and the change in direction was enough to skirt past Hounds keeper Jacob Randolph for the 1-0 lead.

Early in the second half, the Hounds came out as the aggressor, with Mushagalusa hitting the crossbar from a very sharp angle on the left less than a minute into the match.

In the 52nd minute, Hounds’ were in terrific position to equalize and end their scoring drought when midfielder Robbie Mertz was bulldozed in the box near the right end line — earning a penalty.

Danny Griffin stepped up to take the spot kick, driving his shot to the left side, but LVLFC’s keeper Raiko Arozarena made a dazzling save to deny the equalizer.  The ball remained loose in the box when Mushagalusa stepped in to drive the rebound on frame, but once again, Arozarena was there to make another big stop.

The Hounds had a few other chances as Mertz’s his right footed shot from the right side of the box missed to the left in the 60th minute may have been their last real chance.

Though they had 26 touches in the Las Vegas box, the Hounds couldn’t produce another shot on goal.

As Pittsburgh pushed for the equalizer, bringing on subs including midfielder Bradley Sample and a pair of forwards, EJ Johnson and Babacar Diene, things started to open up for Las Vegas on the counter especially beyond the 80th minute.

The hosts would capitalize on the break, when Pittsburgh left way too much space for Jean-Claude Ngando to find Bennett on the break, to slot through his second of the match to put the Hounds in a 2-0 deficit that sealed the match.

Las Vegas ended the match with 53/47 percent possession edge, and a 9-6 shots advantage, with four shots on frame.  Pittsburgh’s only two shots on target came on the penalty sequence.

Next up, Pittsburgh will look to end this run of futility when they return for a four-match homestand beginning next Saturday, when they host Monterey Bay FC, at 7 p.m. at Highmark Stadium.

Match Highlights / X (formerly Twitter) Reaction

Starting XI 

31 Randolph GK
7 Blackstock DF
8 Etou DF
28 Osumanu DF
13 Biasi DF
5 Suber DF
14 MertzMF
2 GriffinMF
11 Forbes MF
77 Mushagalusa FW
19 Kizza FW

 

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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