(April 9, 2022) — Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC continued its torrid start to the season by holding on for a hard-fought, 4-3 win over FC Tulsa this afternoon at ONEOK Field in Tulsa, Okla.
Albert Dikwa recorded his first multi-goal game as a member of the Hounds with a strike in each half, and Alex Dixon and Dane Kelly also found the net for the Hounds, who at 4-0-1, are off to the best league start in the club’s 23-season history.
The Hounds led 2-1 at half, as Tulsa (3-3-0) benefitted from a first-half own goal. The lead was extended to 4-1 before J.J. Williams and Rodrigo da Costa scored in the final 10 minutes to set up a tight finish.
In addition to being the best start in team history, the win puts the Hounds atop the Eastern Conference with second-place Louisville not playing until tomorrow at Loudoun.
Dikwa wasted little time getting things started, as his sixth-minute goal was the fastest this season by the Hounds. He finished his third goal of the season from the middle of the box after receiving a low cross from Kenardo Forbes, who hit a milestone himself by playing his 200th USL Championship match, only the 13th player to hit that number.
Dixon made it 2-0 in the 14th minute after receiving a pass from Dikwa about 25 yards from goal. Dixon faced goal and dribbled his way into space just inside the box before firing a left-footed shot into the bottom left corner.
Tulsa came roaring back, and off the ensuing kickoff, da Costa nearly put the hosts on the board. The Tulsa striker didn’t get all of the point-blank chance, however, and Arturo Ordóñez raced back to clear the ball off the goal line for the Hounds.
In the 19th minute, Tulsa got its first goal after a cross was whipped in from the right side. Dani Rovira tried to make the defensive play, but his touch instead went toward goal and split the legs of goalkeeper Kevin Silva before trickling over the line.
Dikwa had a shot to make it 3-1 on the final play of the half, but after receiving another good feed from Forbes, his shot from 9 yards out was denied by the legs of Tulsa keeper Sean Lewis.
Kelly netted his fourth of the season just 67 seconds into the second half. Rovira played a pass forward that was too firm for intended target Dikwa to reach, but Kelly continued his run to get on the end of the pass behind the Tulsa defense and score easily for a 3-1 lead.
Dikwa pulled even with Kelly on four goals for the season in the 60th minute, when a cross from Nate Dossantos on the left managed to bounce its way past a Hounds runner and three Tulsa defenders, setting Dikwa up for a wide-open finish. The pass was the first professional assist for Dossantos, the rookie defender out of Marshall.
Tulsa began to create more chances after using all of their allowed substitutes between the 65th and 68th minutes.
Things got dicey in the late moments, as Tulsa striker Williams finished from right in front of goal in the 80th minute to cut the lead to 4-2. Five minutes later, da Costa got on the end of a long ball over the top and finished from the left side, making it a one-goal game. But the Hounds tightened up, allowing a pair of late free kicks from distance but no more shots on goal.
Hounds Man of the Match
Albert Dikwa has been a three-year fan favorite for his hard work and effort as a forward, but his finishing has been on point so far this season. His two goals and an assist today give him 10 points (four goals, two assists) on the season, which is already a single-season best just one month into the 2022 campaign.
The Hounds face the second game of a three-game road swing next Saturday when they face another opponent for the first time ever, Las Vegas Lights FC (3-2-0). That game will be another afternoon contest out west, but a 7 p.m. ET kickoff.
Riverhounds SC lineup (5-1-3-1) — Kevin Silva; Nate Dossantos (Luis Argudo 78’), Jelani Peters, Arturo Ordóñez, Shane Wiedt, Alex Dixon (Luke Biasi 65’); Danny Griffin; Dani Rovira, Albert Dikwa (Mekeil Williams 65’), Kenardo Forbes (Angelo Kelly 78’); Dane Kelly (Russell Cicerone 65’)
FC Tulsa (4-2-3-1) — Sean Lewis; Gabi Torres, Johnny Fenwick (Adrian Diz Pe 65’), Ronald Rodríguez, Bradley Bourgeois; Petar Čuić (Abbucht Obinwa 65’), Lebo Moloto (Eric Bird 65’); Joaquín Rivas (Brian Brown 68’), Rodrigo da Costa, Dario Suárez (Machuca 68’); J.J. Williams
PIT — Albert Dikwa 6’ (Kenardo Forbes)
PIT — Alex Dixon 14’ (Albert Dikwa)
TUL — Dani Rovira 19’ (own goal)
PIT — Dane Kelly 47’ (Dani Rovira)
PIT — Albert Dikwa 60’ (Nate Dossantos)
TUL — J.J. Williams 80’ (Rodrigo da Costa)
TUL — Rodrigo da Costa 85’ (Ronald Rodríguez)
PIT — Dane Kelly 27’ (caution – unsporting behavior)
TUL — Dario Suárez 32’ (caution – unsporting behavior)
PIT — Nate Dossantos 74’ (caution – unsporting behavior)
PIT — Angelo Kelly 80’ (caution – unsporting behavior)
PIT — Luke Biasi 83’ (caution – unsporting behavior)