Pittsburgh, Pa–The Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC (2-1-2) defeated the Hartford Athletic (0-6-0) on Saturday evening. The Hartford Athletic are playing in their inaugural season in the USL Championship league and have yet to win a game. The Riverhounds were playing in their inaugural game at Highmark Stadium in the 2019 season as well.
The Riverhounds kept to their theme of strong defense the entire game, and early on it paid off. After clogging the neutral zone the Hounds moved the ball into the corner to Kevin Kerr as he sent it across the crease to Steevan Dos Santos for his first goal of the season and the Riverhounds’ first goal at home. Hartford goalkeeper John Kempin made two big saves to keep the Hounds at bay, and the two teams headed into the half with the Riverhounds ahead 1-0.
After the half, Hartford came out of the locker room with a new attitude and different energy. Though Hartford was hard on the ball, for the most part, the Hounds made an attempt at the net where Neco Brett crushed the crossbar after some good offensive possession. Shortly after in the fifty-fourth minute, Jose Angulo, in his return to Pittsburgh, sailed one over the head of goalkeeper Ben Lundgaard from deep in the center of the field to knot the score at 1-1.
After Hartford subbed in two players, the Hounds were back on the attack. Kevin Kerr, the man who assisted Dos Santos’ goal earlier in the match, fired off a low shot close inside the post to give the Riverhounds the lead in the seventy-fourth minute. Moving on, the Hounds continued their staunch defensive efforts and took advantage of another offensive opportunity.
Neco Brett was awarded a penalty shot in the eighty-first minute and converted the PK to extend the Hounds’ lead to 3-1. That would prove to be the final score as the Riverhounds were able to fend off the Athletic and hand them their sixth consecutive loss.
After the match head coach Bob Lilley, commented on the competition Hartford brings even as a winless squad.
“I’ve been telling people all week that’s a good team and they’ve got guys that can hurt you,” Lilley said, “At 1-1 they had a lot of good looks and we could have been trailing or trying to salvage a point maybe.”
Lilley then commented on the attendance of 5,182 and how it’s great for soccer in Pittsburgh and the United States.
“I think we have a good team, we had a good one last year and I’m really excited for what we’re starting to build here. I’m thankful and appreciative of those fans coming out, hopefully, we can keep them coming out.”
The Riverhounds will play Saint Louis FC on April 20th as they continue their first homestand of the season.