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 Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC

Two Early Goals Sink Hounds in Hartford

June 15, 2024 - United Soccer League Championship (USL)
Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC News Release

Two goals in the first 16 minutes put the Pittsburgh Riverhounds in an early hole, and they were unable to recover in a 2-0 loss tonight against Hartford Athletic at Trinity Health Stadium in Hartford, Conn.

Michee Ngalina scored both goals for Hartford (5-7-1), which won for only the second time in 14 meetings with the Hounds (3-6-5).

Finishing was again the missing element for the Hounds, who struck the goalpost twice, had a 14-7 edge in total shots and 56.4 percent of possession in the match.

First half

Hartford got the ideal start to their game, when a long ball by Triston Hodge in the sixth minute allowed Ngalina to get behind the Hounds defense with speed. Ngalina cut inward from the left and finished into the bottom right corner of the net, leaving no chance for Hounds rookie goalkeeper Jacob Randolph, who made his first professional start.

Randolph came up big six minutes later, as Ngalina again timed a run to get behind the Hounds' defense. This time, the first-year goalkeeper got the better of the encounter, coming off his line and making a save with his right leg.

Ngalina got his second goal of the night in the 16th minute, when Deshane Beckford was able to send a low cross in from the left side, and Ngalina tapped the ball into the net after getting away from the defense at the back post.

The Hounds clawed their way back into the match, and in the 33rd minute, Robbie Mertz set up Kazaiah Sterling for a shot at the top of the box by laying back a soft pass. Sterling's driven shot hit the inside of the left post, but the ball somehow went back across the face of goal before spinning its way out for a goal kick wide of the net.

Second half

The Hounds made three halftime substitutions, and one of those players - Emmanuel Johnson - also came close to putting the Hounds on the board in the 62nd minute. Langston Blackstock's cross from the right was not cleared fully by the Hartford defense, and Johnson put his laces through the ball for a powerful shot from 12 yards that struck the right post and caromed back out of the box.

The game got more wide open as the Hounds pushed for a tying goal, and the team got two good free kick opportunities from just outside of the box in the final minutes of play.

Danny Griffin and Kenardo Forbes both put shots on net, but Hartford goalkeeper Renan Ribeiro was able to make the save each time. Ribeiro finished with five saves, as the Hounds were shut out for the third straight road game.

Modelo Man of the Match

Langston Blackstock was up and down the right side for the Hounds all night, finishing with 88 touches on the ball, most by a non-center back. He connected on 42 of 51 passes (82.4 percent), led the team with seven total crosses, won possession six times to share the team high, and he won 6 of 11 duels.

What's next?

The Hounds will have to turn around on short rest for a home game this Wednesday, June 19, against East-leading Louisville City FC (10-1-2). The 7:30 p.m. kickoff at Highmark Stadium will be the Hounds' first nationally televised home game in four years, airing live on CBS Sports Network.

Riverhounds SC lineup (3-5-2) - Jacob Randolph; Illal Osumanu (Dani Rovira 82'), Pat Hogan, Sean Suber; Junior Etou (Pierre Cayet 70'), Danny Griffin, Jackson Walti (Bradley Sample 46'), Robbie Mertz (Kenardo Forbes 46'), Langston Blackstock; Edward Kizza (Emmanuel Johnson 46'), Kazaiah Sterling

Hartford Athletic lineup (4-2-3-1) - Renan Ribeiro; Triston Hodge, Joe Farrell, Jordan Scarlett, Younes Boudadi; Thomas Vancaeyezeele (Anderson Asiedu 73'), Beverly Makangila; Marcus Epps, Jay Chapman, Deshane Beckford (Danny Barrera 65'); Michee Ngalina (Ian Shaul 90+5')

Scoring summary

HFD - Michee Ngalina 5' (Triston Hodge)

HFD - Michee Ngalina 16' (Deshane Beckford)

Discipline summary

PIT - Junior Etou 39' (caution - reckless foul)

HFD - Thomas Vancaeyezeele 45+2' (caution - reckless foul)

PIT - Illal Osumanu 63' (caution - tactical foul)

HFD - Triston Hodge 65' (caution - tactical foul)

HFD - Beverly Makangila 90+1' (caution - tactical foul)

PIT - Pat Hogan 90+4' (caution - tactical foul)

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