(March 12, 2022) — The season got off to a roaring start and a bit of history was made, as Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC began its 2022 campaign with a 3-0 win over Memphis 901 FC tonight at AutoZone Park in Memphis, Tenn.
Dane Kelly became the first player to score 100 goals in the USL Championship by scoring his first game with the Hounds (1-0-0), while Russell Cicerone and Albert Dikwa scored in the second half to lock up the victory. The win was just the Hounds’ second in a season opener since 2015.
Chase Vosvick, the Hounds’ rookie goalkeeper out of Loyola (Md.), saved a 30th-minute penalty kick by Phillip Goodrum, and a short time later, Memphis (0-1-0) defender Graham Smith was sent off for his second yellow card.
The match started with both teams feeling their way out in freezing temperatures in Memphis. Cicerone nearly opened the scoring in the 22nd minute with a long-distance shot that hit the inside of the left post and stayed out.
Just before the half-hour mark, defender Arturo Ordóñez — another Hounds first-year pro out of Pitt — was called for handling the ball as he made a sliding tackle, giving Memphis a penalty kick. Goodrum went right down the middle with his shot, and Vosvick was able to drag a leg behind him to make a kick save as he dove to his right.
With that momentum, the Hounds sprung forward, and Cicerone was fouled by Smith, who came into the tackle with a high boot. Smith had received a yellow card earlier in the match, and referee Kevin Broadley had little choice but to send him off in the 34th minute for a second cautionable offense.
The Hounds finally broke through in first-half stoppage time, when Alex Dixon pushed a pass through traffic to Kelly in the box. The Hounds’ offseason free-agent signing outworked his defender for the ball and scored with a low shot for the career milestone goal.
Memphis regrouped after halftime and held their shape with only 10 men, and they were even able to keep possession even at 50-50 for the night while forcing five saves from Vosvick.
But the Hounds got their second goal in the 64th minute from a corner kick, as Kenardo Forbes delivered a high ball for Kelly to head toward the back post, where Cicerone was waiting to slam it into the open net. The goal was Cicerone’s 17th with the Hounds, which puts him into the top 10 in team history for goals in just the first game of his second season.
Dikwa finished the scoring in the 76th minute after a nice move down the right wing that ended with Dixon picking up his second assist. Dikwa was able to slow down and receive the pass slightly behind him, and with Memphis defenders overrunning the play, he had time to slam the ball into the goal.
In total, five players made professional debuts tonight for the Hounds — starters Vosvick, Ordóñez and midfielder Marc Ybarra, as well as defenders Nate Dossantos and Toby Sims off the bench.
Hounds Man of the Match
Dane Kelly gets the honor on his debut for both the milestone 100th career goal and the assist on the second. He was a steady threat when the Hounds moved forward, also drawing three fouls in the 68 minutes he played before Dikwa entered in relief.
The Hounds will host Hartford Athletic in the 10th season opener at Highmark Stadium on Saturday, March 19 at 7 p.m. Hartford (0-0-0) was the odd team out of the 27 clubs on the opening weekend of the USL Championship season; next week’s game will be its season opener.
Riverhounds SC Lineup (3-4-1-2) — Chase Vosvick; Jelani Peters, Arturo Ordóñez, Shane Wiedt; Robby Dambrot (Nate Dossantos 68’), Marc Ybarra (Toby Sims 68’), Danny Griffin, Alex Dixon (Angelo Kelly 85’); Kenardo Forbes; Russell Cicerone (Mekeil Williams 85’), Dane Kelly (Albert Dikwa 68’)
Memphis 901 FC (4-2-3-1) — Trey Muse; Jeremy Kelly, Niall Logue, Graham Smith (sent off 34’), Rece Buckmaster; Chris Allan (Chris Allan 82’); Leston Paul (Mitchell Myers 77’); Derek Dodson (Simeon Betapudi 90’), Laurent Kissiedou, Devin Boyce; Phillip Goodrum (Patrick Seagrist 45’)
PIT — Dane Kelly (Alex Dixon) 45+3’
PIT — Russell Cicerone (Dane Kelly) 64’
PIT — Albert Dikwa (Alex Dixon) 76’
MEM — Graham Smith (caution – unsporting behavior) 21’
MEM — Graham Smith (caution – unsporting behavior) 34’
MEM — Graham Smith (sent off – second cautionable offense) 34’
MEM — Niall Logue (caution – unsporting behavior) 39’
MEM — Leston Paul (caution – dissent) 59’
MEM — Patrick Seagrist (caution – unsporting behavior) 66’