(Oct. 9, 2022) — Kenardo Forbes got a crucial game-tying goal to give Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC a 1-1 draw on the road at Sacramento Republic FC this afternoon at Heart Health Park in Sacramento, Calif.
The result means the chase for home field in the USL Championship Eastern Conference will come down to the final day of the season this Saturday, as fourth-place Birmingham holds just a one-point lead over the Hounds (15-9-9) and Detroit.
Danny Griffin made Hounds team history in the match, as the durable midfielder set a new club record for minutes played. He now has 2,965 minutes in league matches this season, surpassing the old record of 2,909 set in 2018 by Thomas Vancaeyezeele.
Rodrigo López scored from the penalty spot to give Sacramento (14-11-8) its lead early in the second half.
Sacramento’s Keko Gontán forced a save by Hounds goalkeeper Jahmali Waite, who dove to his right to parry away the low shot just two minutes into the match.
Things settled in after the early Republic flurry with both teams trying to secure seeding and home field in their respective conferences.
The Hounds’ best chance came late, when Albert Dikwa spotted Russell Cicerone making a run to the back post. The pass was on target, but Cicerone’s shot was saved by former Hounds goalkeeper Danny Vitiello in the Republic net.
The Republic also had a great chance a minute later, but López couldn’t hit the net with his header from a Jack Gurr cross.
Sacramento got on the board after López drew a penalty by getting inside position on Jelani Peters and going to ground as he tried to corral a pass. The converted penalty kick by López in the 54th minute was the veteran’s first goal against the Hounds since he scored twice against them in 2014.
The Hounds were back on level terms by the 57th minute, as Shane Wiedt placed a perfectly weighted pass through the Republic defense to Forbes in the box. The Hounds captain scored his second of the season with a soft chip around Vitiello, tying the game.
Cicerone nearly put the Hounds ahead with 10 minutes left, as a great individual run saw him weave around three defenders to shoot from the top of the box, but the slightest of deflections pushed his shot wide of the post and out for a corner.
The Hounds went down to 10 men in stoppage time after Arturo Ordónez was sent off after receiving his second yellow card for a tactical foul, but neither team recorded a shot after that moment. Sacramento finished with 54 percent of possession, while shots were an even 8-8 in the match.
Hounds Man of the Match
Kenardo Forbes came up with a big goal when his team needed it, but the captain was his usual efficient self on the ball. He completed a team-high 56 of 69 passes (88 percent), led the team with 11 passes in the final third and won 4 of 8 duels on the ground.
The Hounds return home for their season finale against a first-time opponent, Oakland Roots SC, on Saturday, Oct. 15 at 7 p.m. at Highmark Stadium. Oakland (11-9-13) sits sixth in the Western Conference but does not have its playoff spot locked up yet, while the Hounds must get a result to have a shot to host the first round of the playoffs.
Riverhounds SC lineup (4-2-3-1) — Jahmali Waite; Shane Wiedt, Mekeil Williams (Dani Rovira 61’), Arturo Ordóñez, Jelani Peters; Danny Griffin, Kenardo Forbes (Marc Ybarra 81’); Russell Cicerone (Edward Kizza 81’), Robbie Mertz (William Eyang 90’), Alex Dixon (Angelo Kelly 81’); Albert Dikwa
Sacramento Republic FC lineup (3-4-3) — Danny Vitiello; Duke Lacroix, Conor Donovan, Dan Casey (Luther Archimède 81’); Damià Viader; Luis Felipe, Matt LaGrassa, Jack Gurr (Ferrety Sousa 88’); Rodrigo López, Keko Gontán (Zeiko Lewis 73’), Douglas Martinez (Maalique Foster 73’, Rafael Jauregui 88’)
SAC — Rodrigo López 54’ (penalty)
PIT — Kenardo Forbes 58’ (Shane Wiedt)
PIT — Mekeil Williams 34’ (caution – unsporting behavior)
SAC — Matt LaGrassa 50’ (caution – unsporting behavior)
PIT — Arturo Ordóñez 74’ (caution – unsporting behavior)
PIT — Arturo Ordóñez 90+1’ (caution – unsporting behavior)
PIT — Arturo Ordóñez 90+1’ (sent off – second cautionable offense)