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Neco Brett’s 11th goal is the deciding factor in 1-0 victory over Toronto FC II

The Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC (11-3-7, 40 points) took on Toronto FC II (1-16-3, 6 points) on Saturday. After the win, the Riverhounds passed the Charleston Battery (10-3-9, 39 points) to move into second in the Eastern Conference. The team still sat behind FC Cincinnati (13-3-5, 44 points) in the standings.

Just like last game, the Riverhounds came out of the gate flying as they were able to get a breakaway within the first thirty seconds. Unfortunately for the Riverhounds, Neco Brett was unable to connect on the resulting shot and the score remained 0-0.

The next fifteen minutes featured great chances on both sides of the feild. Toronto FC II, who sits last in the conferance with a -26 goal differential (all stats curtesy of the Riverhounds), was able to generate two corner kicks within the first fifteen minutes. The first of two came close to resulting in a goal, but the Riverhounds were able to get the ball out of the box after a scramble in front of the net.

At the 20-minute mark, the Riverhounds picked up their first yellow card. The card was issued to forward Kevin Kerr after he attempted to challenge Toronto defenseman Robert Baskovic. He instead knocked Baskovic down and was issued a yellow.

Ten minutes later, the Hounds came close to a goal on mutliple chances. It all started when a ball was played to Neco Brett who attempted to cross it, but failed in doing so. That set up a corner which was booted out of bounds by a Toronto player.

The resulting corner was then kicked up the field when Noah Franke was elbowed to the ground by a Toronto defenseman. Franke was awarded a free kick about ten yards from midfield. This turn of events ended up leading to a Kenardo Forbes shot that smacked off the crossbar. Play was then stopped after the shot for a hydration break.

At the 43 minute mark, Toronto FC II had their best chance in the first half as a ball was played into the Riverhounds’ box. A fast Dan Lynd was able to come out and grab the ball before the Toronto attacker could get a shot off.

Right before three minutes of stoppage time was added, Ray Lee found Kay Banjo in the box. Banjo was tripped on the play, but no penalty was called. After that no call the Hounds were able to get another corner kick right before halftime, but were unable to score. The two teams entered halftime with the score notted at nil-nil.

Just like the first half, the Riverhounds were able to get the ball deep into the Toronto box within the first minute of the second half. Also like the first half, the Hounds were unable to capitalize on this opportunity and the score remained 0-0.

At the 58th minute mark, two players were shaken up. One of those players was Kay Banjo for the Hounds who was immediately subbed out for Christiano Francios. The Hounds took this time to also sub out Tobi Adewole, replacing him with Thomas Vancaezeele. The other player was Toronto’s Dante Campbell, who was subbed out for Jordan Hamilton. It is unclear what happened that caused both players to get shaken up, but neither seemed fit to continue.

The Riverhounds used their third and final subsitution at the 75-minute mark, by bringing in Dennis Chin for Kevin Kerr. Immediately after the subsitution, Dan Lynd made a great sliding save to keep the game tied up at 0-0. The Riverhounds were then able to get the ball deep into Toronto’s box. Christiano Francios crossed the ball to Noah Franke in the box, but Franke’s shot barely missed the net on the right side.

Five minutes later, Thomas Vancaeyezeele picked up a yellow. Right after that though, Ray Lee played a great ball to Kenardo Forbes. Forbes crossed it to Neco Brett who one-touched it into the net for his 11th goal of the season, making the score 1-0.

Not long after, Matt Srbely for Toronto picked up a yellow card. This came after multiple warnings by the head referee, Darth Newman, throughout the game. It also was intrusmental in setting up multiple chances for the Riverhounds as the resulting free kick put the ball deep into Toronto’s zone. Riverhounds’ players Forbes and Mouhamed Dabo both got shots off. Nothing went in the net though, as Caleb Patterson-Sewell, the goalie and captain for Toronto FC II, made two impressive saves to keep the score 1-0.

Four minutes of stoppage time was added, but neither team was able to add to the scoreboard. Toronto FC II did come close after recieving a controversial free kick right before the game ended, but a diving Dan Lynd sealed the win. The game ended 1-0 with a victory for the Riverhounds. The Riverhounds led in shots 9-3 after finding a second wind late in the game.

The Riverhounds next game will be at the Bethlehem Steel FC (8-9-6, 30) on August 12th. They will return home on August 18th to host the Charlotte Independance (7-8-7, 28 points).



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