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Dixon's Double Fires Hounds Past Hartford, into First Place

July 31, 2021 - United Soccer League Championship (USL) - Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC News Release

PITTSBURGH - Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC moved into sole possession of first place in the Atlantic Division with its fourth consecutive home win, 3-1 over Hartford Athletic in front of a season-high crowd of 3,879 at Highmark Stadium.

Alex Dixon scored the Hounds' first two goals, and Louis Pérez put the game away with a late finish as the Hounds (9-4-3) rallied from trailing 1-0 at halftime. Derek Dodson scored the lone goal for Hartford (7-4-2).

The win completes an undefeated July for the Hounds with a record of 4-0-1 in the month, and it also snaps a two-game winless streak vs. Hartford, which pipped the Hounds for the division title a season ago.

First half

The Hounds did a lot right in the first half, holding 65 percent of possession and a 7-3 edge in total shots. But against the run of play, Hartford took the lead in the 26th minute when Dodson got behind the defense on a long ball over the top and slotted it past Danny Vitiello.

Meanwhile, Hartford goalkeeper Jeff Caldwell was the top player of the first half, as he recorded all five of his saves before the break, including a double stop to deny a Mekeil Williams header and an Albert Dikwa rebound attempt in the 33rd minute.

Four minutes later, Dodson had another chance to break on goal after winning the ball from Dixon, but Vitiello stood tall to block the chance away and keep it 1-0.

Second half

The Hounds pulled even in the 49th minute on a well-timed back post run by Dixon. Williams hit a long, curling cross from near the left touchline, and Dixon sneaked in behind the Hartford defenders to leave Caldwell flat-footed with a one-touch finish.

Continuing to press forward, the Hounds nearly pulled ahead soon afterward. A Dikwa header went just over the bar, and a free kick attempt by substitute Tommy Williamson just missed wide of the post, hitting one of the net supports behind the goal.

But in the 83rd minute, Dixon took it upon himself to grab a winner, receiving a pass from Russell Cicerone and dribbling his way into the right side of the box before firing a high shot out of the reach of Caldwell for a 2-1 lead and his fourth goal of the year.

Five minutes later, two first-year pros put the game away. Williamson kept the ball alive with a header inside the box, and Pérez spun and fired a shot across goal into the side netting for his second of the year.

Hounds Man of the Match

Alex Dixon played his part operating as a wing back in the first half, but when he moved into a more advanced role after the break, he made the difference in the game with his finishing. In addition, he recorded a pair of key passes and led the team with six open play crosses.

What's next?

The Hounds make their second trip to visit the recently in-form Charleston Battery (6-4-3), winners of three straight, at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 6. The teams drew 1-1 in their first meeting July 7.

Riverhounds SC lineup (5-1-3-1) - Danny Vitiello; Dani Rovira (Ezra Robinson 73'), Mekeil Williams, Jalen Robinson (Todd Wharton 45'), Shane Wiedt, Alex Dixon (Preston Kilwien 85'); Danny Griffin; Anthony Velarde (Louis Pérez 73'), Russell Cicerone, Kenardo Forbes; Albert Dikwa (Tommy Williamson 62')

Hartford Athletic lineup (4-4-2) - Jeff Caldwell; Alex Lara, Walid Yacoubou (Nii Ashitey 61'), Thomas Janjigian, Younes Boudadi; Jeciel Cendeno (Bradford Jamieson IV 45'), Arthur Rogers, Christian Gomez (Conor McGlynn 53'), Danny Barrera; Derek Dodson, Walmer Martinez

Scoring summary

HFD - Derek Dodson 26' (Christian Gomez)

PIT - Alex Dixon 49' (Mekeil Williams)

PIT - Alex Dixon 83' (Russell Cicerone)

PIT - Louis Pérez 88' (Tommy Williamson)

Discipline summary

HFD - Walid Yacoubou 36' (caution - unsporting behavior)

HFD - Nii Ashitey 81' (caution - unsporting behavior)

PIT - Shane Wiedt 82' (caution - unsporting behavior)

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