(June 18, 2022) — It was a second straight road setback for Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, as advantages in shots and possession didn’t translate into goals in a 1-0 loss to the Rio Grande Valley FC Toros tonight at H-E-B Park in Edinburg, Texas.
Ricky Ruiz scored late in the first half for the Toros (7-8-1) in the first-ever meeting between the two teams, while the Hounds (7-5-3) were shut out in consecutive league matches for the first time since August 2021.
The Hounds outshot the Toros, 10-5, and they had a significant edge with 62 percent of the possession in the game. The setback drops the team’s road record to 2-5-2, but three of the next four are at home, where the Hounds remain undefeated.
As one would expect with first-time opponents, the game got off to a cagey start, and neither team recorded a shot in the first 10 minutes.
RGV had the first close chance in the 27th minute, when Isidro Martinez struck the left post after the Toros forced a turnover and moved in transition.
Shortly after, the Toros took the lead when Luka Malesevic launched a high cross from the right side of the field toward the back post. Ruiz got between defenders, though with not much space, he opted to hit the shot on his first touch and found the right corner of the net in the 34th minute.
The Hounds began the half bringing Alex Dixon off the bench. It was the 200th career USL Championship appearance for Dixon, who missed last week’s match for the birth of his first child.
Traffic flowed the Hounds’ direction for much of the half, as they had 64 percent of the ball and held RGV to one shot. Despite that, the team took until the final 15 minutes to really test goalkeeper Javier Garcia.
Albert Dikwa forced a save at close range after Dane Kelly slipped a pass through to him, and the Toros were able to scramble the ball away with Kelly and Dixon looming on the second chance.
Dikwa momentarily thought he had a stoppage-time equalizer after being played in behind the defense, but the offside flag was correctly raised as the Hounds’ striker put the ball in the net. A last-minute shot by Dixon was saved by Garcia, who made three stops in the shutout.
Hounds Man of the Match
Alex Dixon came off the bench and immediately made the Hounds’ attack seem a bit more potent. His four shots were most on the team, he connected on 83 percent of his passes in the final third, and his five touches in the RGV box were second only to starter Russell Cicerone.
After playing four of its past five matches on the road, the Hounds will start to see more home games, beginning with a tough assignment against the Tampa Bay Rowdies on Saturday, June 25 at 7 p.m. The Rowdies (7-3-6) drew 1-1 earlier tonight at home against the resurgent Charleston Battery.
Riverhounds SC lineup (4-2-3-1) — Kevin Silva; Nate Dossantos, Jelani Peters (Dani Rovira 67’), Mekeil Williams (Luis Argudo 89’), Shane Wiedt; Angelo Kelly, Marc Ybarra (Alex Dixon 46’); Russell Cicerone (Dane Kelly 67’), Danny Griffin, Kenardo Forbes; Albert Dikwa
Rio Grande Valley FC Toros lineup (4-2-3-1) — Javier Garcia; Jonathan Ricketts, Erik Pimentel, Wahab Ackwei, Luka Malesevic; Juan Pablo Torres (Juan Cabezas 58’), Emilio Ycaza; Ricky Ruiz (José Torres 83’), Robert Coronado (Dylan Borczak 58’), Isidro Martinez (Jesús Vázquez 90’); Adolfo Hernández (Frank Gaviria 83’)
RGV — Ricky Ruiz 34’ (Luka Malesevic)