(May 21, 2022) — Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC had its two-game win streak snapped on the road, as the Tampa Bay Rowdies came back from an early Hounds goal to win 3-1 tonight at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Alex Dixon put the Hounds (7-3-1) in front just 10 minutes into the game, but goals by Jake LaCava, Leo Fernandes and Lucky Mkosana gave the defending Eastern Conference champion Rowdies (5-3-4) the victory.
All three of the Hounds’ losses this year have come on the road, and this defeat cost the team a chance to move into first place in the East with leaders Louisville also losing today.
“I thought the effort was there, but we weren’t quite good enough on the night,” Riverhounds coach Bob Lilley said. “Overall, I think it was a good effort, but at times we allowed them too much space. But there’s something we can take from this game, and now we have to come home and get ready to go back down to Miami.”
The Hounds nearly got the scoring going right out of the gates, as Kenardo Forbes found Dani Rovira with a ball between Rowdies defenders in the fifth minute. The Hounds midfielder got a shot away under pressure, but it struck the crossbar and bounced back safely in play.
Dixon then got some good fortune as the Hounds broke on the counter-attack. Russell Cicerone found his winger in space down the right side, and Dixon’s attempt — which appeared to be aimed for the far post — struck a defender’s boot and flew inside of the near post for the goal.
The Rowdies pushed back well after the early Hounds flurry, and in the 36th minute, LaCava tied the game by muscling his way onto the second ball from a high, lobbed cross and poking the ball into the far corner of the net.
The Hounds again had some good energy in their press to start the second half, but the Rowdies broke the deadlock in the 57th minute.
Fernandes received a ball at the top of the box and slipped past defender Arturo Ordóñez, who had to be careful not to concede a penalty or pick up a second caution. The Rowdies’ Brazilian forward chipped a finish past goalkeeper Jahmali Waite to make it 2-1.
The Hounds got another chance just three minutes later, as Shane Wiedt played a low, direct pass through to Dixon, but Rowdies goalkeeper C.J. Cochran came off his line to smother the pass/shot attempt off Dixon’s foot.
The Hounds continued to press forward for a goal with 68 percent of the second-half possession (55 percent for the game), but Tampa Bay put it away when Mkosana scored from a long-ball clearance in the final minute of the game.
Hounds Man of the Match
Danny Griffin was his usual, ever-present self in the middle of the park. As a distributor, he connected on 56 of 60 passes (93 percent), which included 12 of 14 passes in the final third. He also won three of four tackles and took possession away seven times, all while not committing a foul in the match.
The Hounds will need to get used to the Florida heat, as they’ll return to the Sunshine State next Saturday for a 7 p.m. meeting with Miami FC (5-4-3), which picked up an easy 4-0 win in Charleston today.
Riverhounds SC lineup (5-2-1-2) — Jahmali Waite; Nate Dossantos, Mekeil Williams (Luke Biasi 80’), Arturo Ordóñez (Jelani Peters 80’), Shane Wiedt, Alex Dixon (Luis Argudo 68’); Dani Rovira (Marc Ybarra 68’), Danny Griffin; Kenardo Forbes; Russell Cicerone, Albert Dikwa (Dane Kelly 68’)
Tampa Bay Rowdies lineup (3-4-3) — C.J. Cochran; Aaron Guillen, Laurence Wyke, Jordan Scarlett; Jake Areman (Juan Tejada 90’), Yann Ekra, Lewis Hilton, Sebastian Dalgaard; Jake LaCava (Sebastian Guenzatti 78’), Steevan Dos Santos (Lucky Mkosana 78’), Leo Fernandes
PIT — Alex Dixon 10’ (Russell Cicerone)
TBR — Jake LaCava 36’
TBR — Leo Fernandes 57’ (Lewis Hilton)
TBR — Lucky Mkosana 90+4’ (Laurence Wyke)
PIT — Arturo Ordóñez 5’ (caution – unsporting behavior)
TBR — Jordan Scarlett 39’ (caution – unsporting behavior)
PIT — Alex Dixon 49’ (caution – persistent infringement)
TBR — Laurence Wyke 61’ (caution – dissent)
TBR — Aaron Guillen 66’ (caution – unsporting behavior)
PIT — Dani Rovira 67’ (caution – dissent)