Hounds Lock Down Hartford For Second Victory
The Pittsburgh Riverhounds kicked off the home portion of the 2022 USL season on Saturday night with a 2-1 victory over Hartford Athletic at Highmark Stadium.
The contest started well for the 'Hounds as new signing Robby Dambrot opened the scoring with a fine finish from inside the area within a quarter hour. Dambrot settled a deflected cross with his first touch and hit it hard and low with the outside of his foot to the far post and past Hartford 'keeper Austin Pack.
The Riverhounds would surrender the equalizer on 40 minutes as Hartford was able to send a long ball over the top, which was an issue for the 'Hounds in 2021, finding Prince Saydee in behind the defense. Saydee, who won a cap with Liberia in 2013, found a streaking Juan Carlos Obregon with a cross across the six and the striker finished from close to even the match at 1-1.
The pendulum swung permanently one minute later. Peter Lee Vassell, who had taken a yellow card early on in the match, came into a challenge with a high boot. Contact was lacking, but center official John Matto saw it dangerous enough of a challenge to produce a second yellow for Vassell, sending him to the showers on his Hartford debut.
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Coming out with the man advantage in the second half, Bob Ball commenced and it appeared to be only a matter of time before the Riverhounds would break through....and break through they did.
Dane Kelly held up a short pass from Alex Dixon, laid the ball back for Kenardo Forbes and the fan favorite left nothing to doubt with a wonder strike that had upper 90 written all over it.
Hartford was able to win a late free kick but a scramble in front of goal was cleared away by T&T International Jelani Peters, ending the only decent push forward that Hartford could muster after Vassell was given his marching orders.
King Kenny's wondergoal proved to be all the Good Guys would need on the night, as they dominated possession, controlling the ball to the tune of 62% for the match and an astonishing 75% in the second half.
The Personal Perspective: Solid all around performance from Bob's Boys this evening. They owned the possession and came up big defensively on the set piece in stoppage time to ensure the victory. They need to continue working on defending long balls forward. It was an issue last year and they got burned on it again this evening. Dane Kelly has been a fantastic addition up top and his hold up play led to the second goal.
Bob Lilley will likely lament the long ball goal and if he was a tough self critic of the squad after a 3-0 road victory in the opener, our grade on the performance will likely be a good full letter above what Bob will have to give it, because he demands excellence.
The Grade: B+
Man Of The Match: Kenardo Forbes. King Kenny once again ruled the middle third of the park and earns MOTM honors for his wonder strike, which should win USL Goal Of The Week honors.
Riverhounds: Chase Vosvick; Robby Dambrot (Nate Dossantos 89’), Jelani Peters, Mekeil Williams (Shane Wiedt 75’), Arturo Ordóñez, Toby Sims (Angelo Kelly 75’); Danny Griffin; Russell Cicerone, Kenardo Forbes (Marc Ybarra 90’), Alex Dixon; Dane Kelly (Albert Dikwa 75’)
Hartford: Austin Pack; Joel Johnson (Jeciel Cedeño 80’), Modou Jadama, Tom Brewitt, Younes Boudadi; Conor McGlynn (Luka Prpa 80’); Prince Saydee, Andre Lewis, Peter-Lee Vassell (sent off 41’), Danny Barrera (Ashkanov Apollon 66’); Juan Carlos Obregón Jr. (Rashawn Dally 57’)
PIT: Robby Dambrot 12’ HFD: Juan Carlos Obregón Jr. 40’ (Prince Saydee) PIT: Kenardo Forbes 51’ (Dane Kelly)
The Riverhounds travel to USL newcomers Detroit City FC next Saturday with a 4PM kickoff from historic Keyworth Stadium in Hamtramck,MI. They return home on Saturday, April 2 at 7PM against Loudoun United.