Hounds Fall to Hartford, 1-0
PITTSBURGH - Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC (10-4-1) fell to Hartford Athletic (9-3-2), 1-0, tonight at Highmark Stadium.
Ever Guzman scored the match's lone goal in the 36th minute. Despite the loss, the Hounds remain atop Group F, two points ahead of Hartford.
Robbie Mertz logged the first quality chance for the Hounds in the 9th minute. After pushing the pace down the right side, the Pittsburgh native used some fancy footwork to create space on the right side of the penalty area. He then launched a shot, which narrowly missed to the left of the frame.
The Hounds were on the attack once again in the 25th minute. Danny Griffin sent a ball to Jordan Dover along the right side of the penalty area. Dover sent a shot toward the top-left corner, but missed just wide.
In the 29th minute, a penalty kick was awarded to Hartford after a foul in the penalty area. The ensuing shot from Guzman was saved by goalkeeper Danny Vitiello, who ranged to his left to keep the match scoreless.
Guzman was back on the attack in the 36th minute, after receiving a long pass in the center of the penalty area. A chip shot over Vitiello gave Hartford a one-goal lead before the half.
The Hounds had another good chance in the 51st minute, after Mertz sent a cross to Ropapa Mensah in the center of the 18-yard box. Mensah then aimed a header at the bottom-left corner, but missed to the left.
In the 71st minute, a red card was issued to Hartford goalkeeper Parfait Mandanda, leaving them a man down for the remainder of the match. The keeper had a collision with Steevan Dos Santos along the end line.
The Hounds nearly capitalized on an opportunity in the 83rd minute, after Ryan James sent a cross to Dos Santos on the right side of the penalty area. Dos Santos headed the ball just high of the mark.
Albert Dikwa created a chance in the eighth minute of stoppage time, the Hounds' last of the match. His shot from the center of the penalty area narrowly missed to the left.
Hound of the Match, presented by EPIC
Ryan James posted a game-high three key passes and led the Hounds with two clearances.
Beyond the Box Score, presented by Beyond Self Storage
The Hounds' shutout streak ended at 519 minutes.
Riverhounds SC will play its final match of the regular season against Philadelphia Union II (2-9-3) at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 3 at Highmark Stadium. The match will be televised on 22 The Point.
Riverhounds SC - Danny Vitiello; Patrick Bunk-Andersen (Kenardo Forbes 67'),Thomas Vancaeyezeele, Skylar Thomas (Mark Forrest 85'); Ray Lee (Anthony Velarde 52'), Danny Griffin, Ryan James, Robbie Mertz, Jordan Dover (Dani Rovira 45'); Ropapa Mensah (Albert Dikwa 52'), Steevan Dos Santos
Subs not used: TomÃ¡s GÃ®"mez, Mark Lindstrom
Hartford Athletic - Parfait Mandanda (Michael Novotny 73') ; Matheus Silva, Kevin Politz (Alejandro Lara 60'), Sam Strong; Tyreke Johnson, Aiden Mesias (Arthur Rogers 60'), Justin Haak, Danny Barrera (Gabriel Torres 75'), Iran Cohen; Ever GuzmÃ¡n (Conor McGlynn 64'), Hugh Alexander Dixon
Subs not used: Nicky Downs, Markus Naglestad
HFD- Ever GuzmÃ¡n 36'
HFD- Matheus Silva 47' (caution)
HFD- Kevin Politz 50' (caution)
HFD- Danny Barrera 64' (caution)
HFD- Parfait mandanda 71' (ejection)
PIT- Steevan Dos Santos 72' (caution)
HFD- Michael Novotny 89' (caution)
HFD- Justin Haak 90'+5 (caution)
Head coach Bob Lilley
On the loss...
"I mean for me, I thought it was a poor performance. It started early on; a big key for us was to be able to find outlets and we didn't do that very well. We just banged long balls that didn't do a lot for us."
On finishing the regular season strong...
"We can really only put this one behind us and get ready for Philadelphia. It's disappointing to not have our best performance in such an important game, but you have to give credit to Hartford for executing their game plan better than we did."
On how the Hounds will bounce back...
"I think we're going to have to do some soul-searching this week to get back our hunger, to get back on top of things here. We didn't start that well against Loudoun and we didn't start that well tonight. So I think we also have to make sure we start games better moving forward."
Midfielder Robbie Mertz
On what the Hounds need to improve upon...
"I think it's an execution thing, from the players' standpoint. I don't think any of us were unaware of the circumstances tonight, and Hartford came out pressing unlike our last two matchups. We did have the chances tonight, but they didn't go our way."
On how the Hounds will approach the USL Championship Playoffs...
"We're taking it game by game; we are trying to perform all the time. I don't think it's important to peak at any given time, and I know we certainly didn't think about how many games we had won in a row. Not the position we wanted to be in, but we're not going to let ourselves get too down on this loss."
On how the Hounds will judge this loss...
"This loss hurts a lot because we could have clinched the division tonight. We knew what was at stake tonight, but it's not like the chances weren't there. If we don't make certain mistakes, or if we capitalize on one of those chances, it's a different game."
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