PITTSBURGH (July 30, 2022) — Albert Dikwa scored early in the second half to propel Pittsburgh Riverhounds FC to another win, 1-0 over FC Tulsa at Highmark Stadium on Saturday night.
The goal by Dikwa, his seventh of the season, completed an undefeated month of July for the Hounds (12-6-4) and ran the team’s record to 5-0-1 in its last six games while dealing a blow to the playoff hopes for Tulsa (7-12-4).
The win came in front of a sellout crowd of 5,073 and pushes the Hounds into third place in the Eastern Conference.
The first half couldn’t have been much more balanced, with each team having a spell controlling play and possession ending a fraction away from 50/50.
The Hounds began with the upper hand but couldn’t manage a shot on goal, while Tulsa’s Rodrigo da Costa tested Hounds goalkeeper Jahmali Waite on a pair of early shots. Waite finished the game with four saves — two in each half — for his fourth shutout of the season.
Tulsa nearly pulled ahead at the stroke of halftime on a counter. Da Costa got room to shoot around Waite 1-on-1 on the counter-attack, but center back Mekeil Williams hustled back to clear the shot away from the goal line and keep the game scoreless.
The Hounds picked up their forward movement after the break, and an early corner kick led to a Danny Griffin headed shot on goal.
In the 55th minute, Griffin would spark the winning moment for the Hounds by carrying the ball to the left corner and maintaining control with two defenders closing in. He dropped a pass back to Russell Cicerone, who zipped a low cross to Alex Dixon in front of goal.
Dixon, with his back to goal, laid a pass backward to Dikwa, who struck a composed finish. It was Dixon’s seventh assist of the year to go with Dikwa’s seventh goal.
Dikwa nearly had a second goal just three minutes later, but Tulsa goalkeeper Austin Wormell stopped the initial shot by Griffin and deflected Dikwa’s rebound attempt out for a corner. Those were two of Wormell’s six saves, all in the second half.
The Hounds saw the game out with some defensive substitutions. They had to survive a scary moment in stoppage time, however, when Marlon Ramirez got behind the defense but his angled shot was unable to find the target.
Hounds Man of the Match
Danny Griffin turned in his usual high work rate, but he also sparked the Hounds attack from his holding midfield role. In addition to starting the winning play, he put two shots on goal, won 7 of 11 duels, had three interceptions and was second on the team with 22 passes in the final third of the field.
The Hounds open August back on the road, where they will face Indy Eleven on Saturday, Aug. 6 at 7 p.m. Indy (6-11-4) also is fighting for its playoff life after a nine-game winless run that includes a 1-0 loss to the Hounds on July 6 in Pittsburgh.
Riverhounds SC lineup (4-1-4-1) — Jahmali Waite; Nate Dossantos, Mekeil Williams, Arturo Ordóñez, Shane Wiedt; Danny Griffin; Russell Cicerone (Jelani Peters 89’), Robbie Mertz (Angelo Kelly 79’), Kenardo Forbes (Marc Ybarra 89’), Alex Dixon (Dani Rovira 79’); Albert Dikwa (Dane Kelly 68’)
FC Tulsa lineup (4-3-3) — Austin Wormell; Ronald Rodriguez, Johnny Fenwick, Adrián Diz Pe, Noah Powder; Kembo Kitano, Eric Bird (Petar Cuic 80’), Bradley Bourgeois; Lebo Molotov (Dario Suárez 66’), Brian Brown (Marlon Ramirez 80’), Rodrigo da Costa
PIT — Albert Dikwa 55’ (Alex Dixon)
PIT — Shane Wiedt 75’ (caution – unsporting behavior)