(March 18, 2023) — Albert Dikwa scored his first career hat trick, and that was all the scoring Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC needed to secure a 3-1 win on the road this afternoon against Memphis 901 FC at AutoZone Park in Memphis, Tenn.
Dikwa scored in the fifth, 39th and 71st minutes to achieve the 12th hat trick in the history of the Hounds — the first since Russell Cicerone on Aug. 22, 2021 against Atlanta — and only the fourth ever in a road game for the Hounds (1-0-1). Bruno Lapa scored in the seventh minute for Memphis (0-2-0).
“Dikwa had a very good game. He worked hard for his teammates, and we created some good chances early. It was nice to see him step up and finish calmly on the penalty, and the third goal might have been the best of all. … I just think he’s always working hard for the team, and today he finished well and got rewarded,” Riverhounds head coach Bob Lilley said.
The Hounds were dangerous on the break throughout the match, and they outshot Memphis 9-8 despite only having 36 percent of possession away from home.
The Hounds threatened from the game’s early moments, as Dikwa set up Marc Ybarra with a look at an open net after just four minutes, but the Memphis defense closed down Ybarra to prevent him from getting much on the shot from the right of goal.
Dikwa got his first moments later, when Robbie Mertz curled a free kick in from the left corner. Edward Kizza’s initial header was saved, but Pat Hogan kept the ball alive in the box and got his first assist with the Hounds when Dikwa hammered the ball from the crowd into the net.
Memphis tied things two minutes later when Dylan Borczak hit a low, rolling cross into the box, and Lapa ran behind the first wave of attackers to hit a shot into the net from near the penalty spot.
Still tied 1-1 late in the half, Dani Rovira curled in a dangerous cross from the right side that was handled by Memphis defender Graham Smith. Referee Sergii Boiko pointed immediately to the penalty spot, and Dikwa scored his second of the game with a penalty kick into the bottom right corner of the net.
Physical play picked up with the game still in the balance; a total of six yellow cards — four to Memphis, two to the Hounds — were shown in the match.
Dikwa put things away in the 71st minute after goalkeeper Jahmali Waite restarted play with a long goal kick. Tola Showunmi, who entered the game only minutes earlier, received the ball and provided his first professional assist with his second touch, a ball played behind the defense and in stride for Dikwa to hit a one-touch strike.
Showunmi could have added to the lead moments later when Mertz played a dangerous ball across the box, but two Memphis players and the Hounds’ striker fanned on the ball, which rolled harmlessly out of play.
Waite needed to make only two saves in the match, but his second — a diving stop on an Aaron Molloy free kick in the 80th minute — preserved the two-goal lead and a comfortable road win.
Heineken Man of the Match
Albert Dikwa showed off his finishing prowess from all areas with a poacher’s goal, a penalty finish and a well-placed strike while darting through the box to complete his hat trick. The three tallies give Dikwa 19 with the Hounds, which places him one away from being the 10th player in team history with 20.
The Hounds will play their 2023 home opener this Friday, March 24, when they host Miami FC at 7 p.m. at Highmark Stadium. Miami FC drew 1-1 in their season opener against FC Tulsa last Saturday and were scheduled to play later today against New Mexico United.
Riverhounds SC lineup (4-2-3-1) — Jahamli Waite; Nate Dossantos (Luke Biasi 63’), Pat Hogan, Arturo Ordóñez, Dani Rovira; Junior Etou, Kenardo Forbes (Joe Farrell 75’); Marc Ybarra, Albert Dikwa, Robbie Mertz (Burke Fahling 75’); Edward Kizza (Tola Showunmi 63’)
Memphis 901 FC lineup (4-3-3) — Drew Romig; Akeem Ward, Graham Smith, Jelani Peters, Rashawn Dally (Luiz Fernando 73’); Aaron Molloy, Lucas Turci (Carson Vom Steeg 73’), Bruno Lapa (Nighte Pickering 87’); Dylan Borczak, Jeremy Kelly, Phillip Goodrum
PIT — Albert Dikwa 5’ (Pat Hogan)
MEM — Bruno Lapa 7’ (Dylan Borczak)
PIT — Albert Dikwa 39’ (penalty)
PIT — Albert Dikwa 71’ (Tola Showunmi)
MEM — Bruno Lapa 38’ (caution – dissent)
MEM — Akeem Ward 49’ (caution – tactical foul)
PIT — Luke Biasi 64’ (caution – delaying restart)
MEM — Graham Smith 65’ (caution – tactical foul)
MEM — Lucas Turci 69’ (caution – reckless foul)
PIT — Marc Ybarra 80’ (caution – reckless foul)