PITTSBURGH (March 19, 2022) — Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC won the 10th home opener in Highmark Stadium history and kept their perfect start to the 2022 season going with a 2-1 win over Hartford Athletic this evening.
Robby Dambrot opened the scoring, and Kenardo Forbes netted the game-winner early in the second half for the Hounds (2-0-0). Juan Carlos Obregón Jr. tied the match for Hartford (0-1-0) shortly before halftime, but the visitors finished the game with 10 men after Peter-Lee Vassell was sent off for a second yellow card.
It is the second time in the past three seasons the Hounds have begun the season 2-0-0, something the team had never done prior to 2020.
A physical contest from the start, play also opened up moving end-to-end with each team winning early corners.
The Hounds got the scoring started from a throw-in in the 12th minute, as Danny Griffin’s cross from the right side took a slight deflection off a Hartford head and fell to the feet of Dambrot at the back post. The left back scored his first goal with the Hounds by settling the ball with his right foot and hitting a low, lefty blast that stayed inside the right upright.
Yellow cards piled up in the first half with five cautions issued in total, and it was from a free kick that Hartford got the tying goal. Prince Saydee got on the end of a long ball from the midfield stripe, and his low cross through the box was poked in by Obregón in the 40th minute.
Shortly after the goal, the match turned when Vassell was called for a foul for a challenge with a high boot. It was his second yellow card of the game, sending him to the showers early and giving the Hounds the numerical advantage.
The Hounds’ lead was restored just six minutes after the break.
Dane Kelly, who was honored at halftime for scoring his 100th goal a week ago, turned into the provider by receiving a short pass in the box and laying the ball back for Forbes. The Hounds’ captain stepped into the shot and hit a 23-yard blast that stayed just under the crossbar and made it 2-1.
Chances became scarce from that point forward, as the Hounds moved into a more defensive posture as time wound down. Hartford won a free kick in the game’s final minute on the left flank, and the delivery bounced dangerously in the box three or four times before Jelani Peters was able to boot the ball clear just a yard in front of the goal line.
Hounds Man of the Match
Kenardo Forbes, the man with the game winner, was the best of the bunch. Not only did he have the biggest moment of the game, he was an offensive threat throughout with a team-leading 27 passes in the final third of the field, connecting of 70 percent.
The Hounds hit the road for their first trip to USL Championship newcomers Detroit City FC (1-1-0), which won its first home game earlier in the day against Charleston, 1-0. The teams have never met in a competitive match, but the Hounds hosted Detroit early in the 2021 preseason, playing a 0-0 draw.
Hounds lineup (5-1-3-1) — Chase Vosvick; Robby Dambrot (Nate Dossantos 89’), Jelani Peters, Mekeil Williams (Shane Wiedt 75’), Arturo Ordóñez, Toby Sims (Angelo Kelly 75’); Danny Griffin; Russell Cicerone, Kenardo Forbes (Marc Ybarra 90’), Alex Dixon; Dane Kelly (Albert Dikwa 75’)
Hartford lineup (4-1-4-1) — Austin Pack; Joel Johnson (Jeciel Cedeño 80’), Modou Jadama, Tom Brewitt, Younes Boudadi; Conor McGlynn (Luka Prpa 80’); Prince Saydee, Andre Lewis, Peter-Lee Vassell (sent off 41’), Danny Barrera (Ashkanov Apollon 66’); Juan Carlos Obregón Jr. (Rashawn Dally 57’)
PIT — Robby Dambrot 12’
HFD — Juan Carlos Obregón Jr. 40’ (Prince Saydee)
PIT — Kenardo Forbes 51’ (Dane Kelly)
PIT — Alex Dixon 17’ (caution – dissent)
HFD — Peter-Lee Vassell 18’ (caution – unsporting behavior)
HFD — Andre Lewis 34’ (caution – unsporting behavior)
HFD — Peter-Lee Vassell 41’ (caution – unsporting behavior)
HFD — Peter-Lee Vassell 41’ (sent off – second cautionable offense)
PIT — Mekeil Williams 45+2’ (caution – persistent infringement)
PIT — Toby Sims 68’ (caution – unsporting behavior)
PIT — Angelo Kelly 90+2’ (caution – unsporting behavior)