PITTSBURGH (Sept. 24, 2022) — Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC got the early goal but only came away with a 1-1 draw against defending champion Orange County SC tonight at Highmark Stadium.
Albert Dikwa continued his good run of form with his 11th goal of the season for the Hounds (15-8-8) in just the fourth minute of the game. USL Championship leading scorer Milan Iloski tied the game in the 90th minute with his 21st goal for Orange County (7-13-11), which was visiting Pittsburgh for the first time since 2014.
The draw leaves the Hounds in fifth-place in the Eastern Conference, two points behind both Tampa Bay and Birmingham, with three games left in the race to secure a home playoff game.
The Hounds got rolling early with their fastest goal of the season, as Kenardo Forbes played a pass through to Dikwa around the left of the center backs. Dikwa took a touch to get past onrushing goalkeeper Patrick Rakovsky, and he finished with his left foot into the open net.
Not only did the goal add to Dikwa’s career-best total on the season, it was Forbes’ 10th assist of the year, giving the USL Championship’s career assists leader his first double-digit season and a share of the current league lead.
The Hounds remained on the front foot early with 71 percent of possession in the first 15 minutes, but Orange County slowly started to created their own chances. The visitors took the final seven shots of the first half, though none were on target.
The Hounds searched for the second goal, and nearly got it in the 69th minute, when Russell Cicerone hit Robbie Mertz in stride going to goal with a defender on his hip. Mertz made a nice 1-on-1 move to create space, and his shot forced an excellent diving save by Rakovsky to his right.
Hounds goalkeeper Jahmali Waite made an equally impressive save in the 83rd minute. Iloski received a ball played backward to him and hit a powerful volley from outside the box, but the Hounds goalkeeper — who leaves tomorrow to join the Jamaican National Team — denied his with a low dive to his right.
Iloski finally got his goal in the waning moments after Erick Torres tracked down a long ball in the left side of the Hounds box. That drew multiple defenders to Torres, and Iloski darted to the front of the net to tap in from a low, hard pass across the face of goal.
Hounds Man of the Match
Kenardo Forbes again put in an impressive 90 minutes in the center of the park, starting with his setup of Dikwa’s goal. The captain also won 7 of 8 duels, connected on 82 percent of his passes (46 of 62, second-best among starters) and forced a save with his only shot of the night, an early header on goal.
The Hounds continue their closing run against Western Conference teams when they host West-leading San Antonio FC (22-5-4) at 7 p.m. this Saturday, Oct. 1 at Highmark Stadium. The two teams met for the first time a year ago in Texas, where the Hounds stole a 1-1 draw on a late Alex Dixon goal.
Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC lineup (5-4-1) — Jahmali Waite; Dani Rovira (Angelo Kelly 80’), Mekeil Williams, Arturo Ordóñez, Shane Wiedt, Alex Dixon (Mark Ybarra 80’); Robbie Mertz (Luis Argudo 90’), Danny Griffin, Russell Cicerone (Toby Sims 80’, Dane Kelly 90’), Kenardo Forbes; Albert Dikwa
Orange County SC lineup (4-4-2) — Patrick Rakovsky; Alex Villanueva, Brent Richards, Ashton Miles (Erick Torres 70’), Seth Casiple; Tony Rocha, Kevin Partida, Dillon Powers, Brian Iloski (Bryce Jamison 90’); Sean Okoli (Nico Ruiz 80’), Milan Iloski
PIT — Albert Dikwa 4’ (Kenardo Forbes)
OC — Milan Iloski 90’ (Erick Torres)
PIT — Danny Griffin 57’ (caution – unsporting behavior)
OC — Ashton Miles 64’ (caution – unsporting behavior)
PIT — Mekeil Williams 73’ (caution – delaying restart)
PIT — Robbie Mertz 85’ (caution – unsporting behavior)