(July 1, 2022) — Russell Cicerone scored twice after Alex Dixon got the goals started, and Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC ended a winless run in emphatic fashion with a 3-0 win at New York Red Bulls II tonight at MSU Soccer Park in Montclair, N.J.
The victory ends a six-game winless drought for the Hounds (8-6-3), who are back in fourth place in a tight Eastern Conference race with tonight’s win. It is the Hounds’ seventh consecutive win over New York (1-13-3), their longest active streak against any opponent.
Cicerone’s goals move him into the team lead with seven on the season, and he also ascends to ninth in club history with 23 goals in just two seasons for the Hounds. Jahmali Waite needed just one save to record the shutout, and Hounds midfielder Angelo Kelly played his 100th regular-season match in the USL Championship.
New York came out taking the initiative, and Jeremy Rafanello forced Waite into his only save — blocking away a short-hopping shot — less than a minute into the game.
But despite the hosts holding 56.5 percent of possession, the Hounds were the more dangerous team with a 15-7 shots edge and a quick opening goal in the 12th minute.
Dixon netted the opener when Kenardo Forbes located him on the left side with a long cross-field pass. With acres of space, Dixon cut into the box and finished with his right foot for his fourth goal of the year. The strike also gave Forbes his 50th career USL Championship assist, increasing his league-record total.
Cicerone made it 2-0 in the 19th minute when Forbes again found his man behind the defense. New York goalkeeper AJ Marcucci got a touch on the ball, but Cicerone was able to turn the corner and finish from a sharp angle.
As they did for the remainder of the first half, the Hounds continued to press forward for a third goal to put the game away.
The goal came in the 67th minute, when Dani Rovira weighted a pass perfectly to Cicerone, who received the ball in stride behind the defense and fired high into the roof of the net to make it 3-0.
The Hounds continued to press for more goals, with Dixon coming closest on a second-chance header cleared off the line, but Red Bulls II goalkeeper Derrek Chan — a halftime injury replacement for Marcucci — did well to make four saves after the break.
Hounds Man of the Match
Russell Cicerone is the easy choice after recording the first goal-scoring double for the Hounds since Dane Kelly put a pair past Loudoun on April 23. Cicerone, the team’s leading scorer a season ago, is heating up with five goals and two assists in his past eight games.
The Hounds will come home for back-to-back games at Highmark Stadium, beginning with a 7 p.m. match Wednesday, July 6, against the lone Eastern Conference team they have yet to face in 2022, Indy Eleven (6-6-3). Indy, which currently sits in the final playoff spot in the East, hosts Miami FC tomorrow night.
Riverhounds SC lineup (5-2-1-2) — Jahmali Waite; Alex Dixon, Jelani Peters (Mekeil Williams 67’), Arturo Ordóñez, Shane Wiedt, Toby Sims (Jesse Williams 75’); Dani Rovira (Dane Kelly 67’), Danny Griffin; Kenardo Forbes (Angelo Kelly 84’); Albert Dikwa (Luke Biasi 75’), Russell Cicerone
New York Red Bulls II lineup (3-4-3) — AJ Marcucci (Derrek Chan 46’); Daniel De Leon, Lamine Conte, Christopher Cragwell; Curtis Ofori (Jonathan Filipe 68’), Sam Williams (John Murphy 68’), Michael Knapp, O’Vonte Mullings; Jesús Castellano, Jeremy Rafanello (Jordan Adebayo-Smith 61’), Zach Ryan
PIT — Alex Dixon 12’ (Kenardo Forbes)
PIT — Russell Cicerone 19’
PIT — Russell Cicerone 67’ (Dani Rovira)
NY — Jesús Castellano 17’ (caution – unsporting behavior)
PIT — Danny Griffin 46’ (caution – unsporting behavior)
PIT — Jelani Peters 50’ (caution – unsporting behavior)
PIT — Shane Wiedt 57’ (caution – unsporting behavior)
PIT — Dani Rovira 64’ (caution – unsporting behavior)
NY — Jordan Adebayo-Smith 78’ (caution – unsporting behavior)