Pittsburgh, PA- The Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC (13-4-11) tied the Louisville City FC (13-6-9) by the score of 2-2. The game was a big one for the clubs as the two teams came into the game separated by just two points in the Eastern Conference Standings. FC Cincinnati (19-3-6) entered the day first in the standings with 63 in points while the next three teams entered within two points of one another. The Hounds entered in second place with Louisville in fourth, while the Charleston Battery (12-4-12) entered in third place. Both Charleston and FC Cincinnati did not play today.
Right out of the gate the Riverhounds were able to put pressure on keeper Greg Ranjitsingh as Hounds’ forward Romeo Parkes was able to get a hard shot off immediately following the kick-off. Lancaster made the save and dove on the ball before a rebound could take place.
Around the 18-minute mark, the Riverhounds were able to create a great opportunity as Kenardo Forbes played a great ball for Neco Brett through the defenders and in the box. Brett beat the goalie but had to take the shot at a tough angle. Brett’s shot ended up getting blocked, at the last second, by Louisville defender Paco Craig.
It was Louisville who scored first though as Cameron Lancaster padded his league-high goal total with his 19th goal of the season. This gave Louisville a 1-0 lead at the 32nd minute.
The Hounds came close to tying it up when Neco Brett was able to get a header after a great ball played by Romeo Parkes. Greg Ranjitsingh made the jumping save, but Brett recovered the ball and attempted a hard rebound shot. This time, the ball smacked off of the crossbar and the score remained 1-0.
“It was crazy,” said Riverhounds leading scorer Neco Brett, “in the first half we got a few chances. That really affects the game… I had two or three chances that I should have put away, but unfortunately, I didn’t do it there. That’s the reason why we had to take the hard way out.”
Both teams generated a couple more chances, but the score stayed at 1-0 at halftime. At the half, the Hounds led in possession time 59.1% to 40.9% as well as corners (7-1) and shots (9-1) with three of those Hounds’ shots being on target.
“I thought we had an excellent first half,” said Riverhounds manager Bob Lilley.
Ten minutes into the second half, Cameron Lancaster received a yellow card after a hard foul on a Riverhounds’ defender. The yellow set up a free kick on the Riverhounds side of the pitch, but ultimately nothing came of it. The teams approached the one hour mark with the Hounds leading in every offensive category except the most important one, goals.
Three minutes later, Louisville made their first substitution of the game when they brought in Shaun Francis for Devon “Speedy” Williams. Riverhounds fans may remember Williams, as he played for the Hounds during the 2014 season before spending two years with New York Red Bulls II (10-8-10). He’s been with Louisville since the 2017 season.
At the 68-minute mark, Joe Greenspan received a yellow card after fouling a Louisville player right outside the box. The resulting free-kick did not end up in the net, but a few minutes later, Alexis Souahy scored to make the score 2-0. It was a big blow to any comeback hopes for the Hounds who led in every offensive category, except for the one that shows up on the scoreboard, up to that point.
“There was still time,” said Lilley, “I wish we would have responded immediately. Just trying to get them to go and fight. I’m going to make changes, there’s still a lot of time, keep fighting. Anything can happen, one goal changes it.”
At the 78th minute, Riverhounds brought in their final two subs in Joe Holland and Kay Banjo for Joe Greenspan and Ray Lee. The team previously brought in Christiano Francios for Ben Zamanski at the 61-minute mark.
Two minutes later, Louisville brought in Jose Carranza for Ilija Ilic. This was their second substitution of the match.
The Riverhounds got their first goal of the match at the 85th minute when Joe Holland found the back of the net. The goal made the score 2-1 with only five minutes and extra time remaining in the game. Kay Banjo came close to tying it up, but his shot went wide.
At the 89th minute, Neco Brett got fouled in the box setting up a penalty kick. Kenardo Forbes took it for the Riverhounds. His shot found the back of the net and tied things up just as the clock hit 90 minutes.
“It’s a great response to get the goal,” said Lilley, “get in behind them and draw a penalty. We haven’t made those this year and it was important that we made it.”
“It is what it is,” said Brett on the decision to go with Kenardo Forbes for the penalty kick. “Coach makes a decision and you have to respect that. At any time anyone can score and anyone can miss a PK. Coach decided to give the captain the ball. It’s going to benefit the team whether he scores or not, which he didn’t have a problem with”.
Three minutes of stoppage time was added to the clock, during stoppage time Kyle Smith picked up a yellow card. Neither team found the back of the net though and the game ended in a 2-2 draw.
Because of the draw, the Riverhounds will remain in second place in the Eastern Conference of the USL with just six games remaining in the regular season. As for Lousiville City FC, they still sit two points behind the Riverhounds with 48 and sit tied for third with Charleston.
Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC next game will be against Indy Eleven (12-7-9) at Highmark Stadium on September 22nd at 7:00 p.m. After that game next week, the Hounds will only have one more home game left against FC Cincinnati on October 6th, at 7:00 p.m.