Hounds Clinch No. 1 Seed, Defeat Birmingham, 1-0
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC defeated Birmingham Legion FC, 1-0, on Sunday at BBVA Field en route to winning the Eastern Conference regular season championship.
The game's only goal came in the 90th minute, courtesy of forward Mark Forrest. Kyle Morton posted his 13th clean sheet of the season, which sets an all-time club single-season record.
The Hounds will open postseason play in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 26 at Highmark Stadium. The opponent is to be determined.
"I'm proud of the season the guys had," head coach Bob Lilley said. "I think we're worthy being Eastern Conference champs for the regular season. Now we have to turn our attention to the playoffs. It was a good close to the season, but the point is to have the best chance at playoff time. The work starts now as we get ready for these individual games heading into the playoffs."
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The Hounds dominated the first half of play, although they could not break onto the scoresheet.
The club had numerous opportunities, recording six shots on goal over the 45 minutes, but Legion FC goalkeeper Trevor Spangenberg made six saves.
Neco Brett posted a couple takes on target in the first stanza, one from the center of the penalty box in the 17th minute and another on the left side in the 40th minute.
Kevin Kerr, Jordan Dover, Steevan Dos Santos and Kenardo Forbes also recorded a shot on goal in the first half.
Pittsburgh outshot Birmingham 14-to-2 at the halftime whistle.
The Hounds outshot Birmingham 24-to-3 throughout the entire match, but it took until the 90th minute for the Black and Gold to find its game-winning goal.
Rising up for a ball that center back Joe Greenspan sent into the penalty box in the game's waning minutes, Forrest used his 6-foot-4-inch frame to his advantage and soared over the Legion FC backline to head the ball past Spangenberg. After three minutes of stoppage time, the Hounds held on for the victory.
During the course of the match, Pittsburgh logged 12 shots on goal - 11 of which were saved by Spangenberg.
Hound of the Match
Mark Forrest scored the match's lone tally in the 90th minute, marking his first professional goal.
Beyond the Stats, presented by Beyond Self Storage
The Hounds recorded a season-high 24 total shots.
Riverhounds SC will head into the USL Championship playoffs as the No. 1 seed, hosting a to-be-determined opponent at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 26 at Highmark Stadium.
In theme with a stadium blackout, the first 1,000 fans 21-years-and-older will receive a free black T-shirt, courtesy of Heineken. In addition, the first 5,000 fans will receive a free rally towel, courtesy of AHN.
Purchase playoff tickets today at ticketmaster.com.
Riverhounds SC - Kyle Morton; Ryan James, Tobi Adewole, Thomas Vancaeyezeele, Joe Greenspan, Jordan Dover (Mark Forrest 88'); Mouhamed Dabo (Anthony Velarde 69'), Kenardo Forbes, Kevin Kerr (Robbie Mertz 53'); Steevan Dos Santos, Neco Brett
Subs not used: Austin Pack, Noah Franke, Dani Rovira, Uchenna Uzo
Birmingham Legion FC - Trevor Spangenberg; Akeem Ward, Femi Hollinger-Janzen, Benjamin Kucera, Eric Avila; Marcos Ugarte, Joe Holland, Gael Mabiala, Daniel Johnson (Daigo Kobayashi 61'); Prosper Kasim (Zachary Herivaux 52'), J.J. Williams (Brian Wright 59')
Subs not used: Matt Van Oekel, Anderson Asiedu, Kyle Fisher, Mikey Lopez
PIT - Mark Forrest 90' (Joe Greenspan)
BHM - Marcos Ugarte 56' (caution)
PIT - Joe Greenspan 71' (caution)
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