Hounds Win Third Straight, Defeat New York, 3-0
HARRISON, N.J. - Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC (8-3-1) defeated New York Red Bulls II (3-7-0), 3-0, tonight at Red Bull Arena.
Ropapa Mensah opened up the scoring in the 45th minute, after he chipped the ball over New York goalkeeper Wallis Lapsley. The Hounds benefited from an own goal in the 51st minute, and Robbie Mertz scored Pittsburgh's third goal in the 58th minute. Danny Vitiello held it down in net, earning his third clean sheet of the season.
The Hounds now lead the USL Championship Eastern Conference with 25 points this season.
"It's a big run for us," head coach Bob Lilley said. "Hopefully with the rest, we'll have a little more time to get ready for another big game against Hartford next Saturday. We battled well in the first half. The goal before the half was a big moment for us. I felt we had a good second half, and guys were up for it. It was one of the better 90-minute performances we've had. Hopefully, this will help us going into the last four games with the momentum we have.
"Today, we defended well. We'll have to be solid on both sides of the ball and stay aggressive moving forward. We got our goal and we still looked to attack in the second half. There were a lot of good performances today across the board, and I thought the subs were quite good when they came into the game. It was a good team win."
The teams combined for just two shots in the opening 30 minutes of play.
The Hounds had a great chance in the 37th minute, when Mertz sent a free kick to Thomas Vancaeyezeele on the right side of the penalty area. Vancaeyezeele then headed the ball into the back of the net, but was ruled offside.
The Hounds had another quality opportunity in the 45th minute, when Ray Lee sent a long pass to Mensah on the left side of the penalty area. Mensah then chipped the ball over New York goalkeeper Lapsley, after Lapsley came off his line to challenge him.
Pittsburgh allowed just one shot on target in the first half, coming in the 24th minute. New York midfielder Chris Lema drove a shot from outside the penalty area into the bottom-left corner. Vitiello corralled the shot to keep the match scoreless.
The Hounds were the beneficiary of an own goal in the 51st minute, after a faulty clear from Preston Kilwien bounced into the back of the net, giving the Hounds a two-goal lead.
Mensah nearly scored his second goal of the match in the 55th minute off a corner kick. However, the striker was ruled offside after placing the ball into the back of the net.
Steevan Dos Santos was involved in Pittsburgh's next opportunity, which came in the 58th minute. He sent a pass to the center of the penalty area, which was deflected by a nearby defender. Mertz regained possession for the Hounds on the left side of the 18-yard box and sent a shot into the back of the net, giving the Hounds a three-goal lead.
New York nearly scored its first goal of the match in the 60th minute. From outside the penalty box, Dantouma Torre sent a left-footed shot toward the bottom-right corner, but was denied by the right post.
Albert Dikwa almost scored his second goal in as many games in the 78th minute, but his header was rejected by the right post.
Hound of the Match, presented by EPIC
Robbie Mertz scored Pittsburgh's third goal and tallied three key passes. He also accumulated a game-high four tackles.
Beyond the Box Score, presented by Beyond Self Storage
The Hounds have recorded six clean sheets in Group F play (7-1-0) this season.
Riverhounds SC will return to Highmark Stadium for a matchup against Hartford Athletic (5-2-1) at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 12. The match will be televised on 22 The Point.
Riverhounds SC - Danny Vitiello; Ray Lee, Thomas Vancaeyezelee, Skylar Thomas; Ryan James, Robbie Mertz (Dani Rovira 87'), Danny Griffin (Lukas Fernandes 87'), Mark Lindstrom (Patrick Bunk-Andersen 61'), Jordan Dover; Steevan Dos Santos (Anthony Velarde 66'), Ropapa Mensah (Albert Dikwa 62')
Subs not used: TomÃ¡s GÃ³mez, Mark Forrest
New York Red Bulls II - Wallis Lapsley; John Tolkin (Boima Cummins 81'), Preston Kilwein, Roy Boateng (Joseph Fala 62'), Edgardo Rito; Barry Sharifi (Tapiwa Shumba 62'), Chris Lema, Caden Clark (Kenan Hot 68'), Jake LaCava (Omar Sowe 68'), Cherif Dieye; Dantouma Toure
Subs not used: Alex Bobocea, Samad Bounthong
PIT - Ropapa Mensah 45' (Ray Lee)
PIT - Preston Kilwein 51' (own goal)
PIT - Robbie Mertz 58'
NY - Preston Kilwein 11' (caution)
NY - Roy Boateng 16' (caution)
PIT - Mark Lindstrom 23' (caution)
NY - Cherif Dieye 26' (caution)
NY - Edgardo Rito 45'+2 (caution)
PIT - Jordan Dover 86' (caution)
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