PITTSBURGH (May 24, 2023) — History was made at Highmark Stadium, as Albert Dikwa scored the game’s only goal to give the Pittsburgh Riverhounds a 1-0 win over the Columbus Crew of MLS in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup’s Round of 16 tonight.
A stadium-record crowd of 6,107, nearly all clad in white to match the Hounds’ new alternate jerseys debuting for the match, erupted at the sound of the final whistle, which secured the Hounds’ first berth in the Open Cup Quarterfinals since 2001 and puts them three wins away from winning U.S. Soccer’s biggest prize.
In the quarterfinals, the Hounds will go on the road to face FC Cincinnati — the team that eliminated them from last year’s tournament — in a match that will be played June 6 or 7.
Goalkeeper Jahmali Waite made three saves to record his fourth shutout of the year in all competitions, and the Hounds have yet to concede a goal in the Open Cup, including the past two matches against MLS opponents.
The Crew fielded a rotated lineup from their weekend loss to rival FC Cincinnati, but their tactics remained the same, holding 75 percent of possession. The Hounds looked the more dangerous team, however, outshooting them 4-3 in the first half and 9-7 overall.
The decisive goal game in the 22nd minute, after the Hounds forced a turnover inside the Crew half of the field. Robbie Mertz got the ball at his feet and picked out Dikwa, who stayed onside before breaking behind the defense and passing the ball calmly into the right side of the net.
The Crew’s best chance of the half came just after the half-hour mark, but the Hounds defense recovered well as Nate Dossantos blocked away a chance from 10 yards by Jacen Russell-Rowe.
Waite made his biggest stop of the match early in the half, meeting a hard, low shot from just outside the box by Thomas Roberts and parrying it wide of his near post.
The Crew began to push forward more, and the Hounds defended soundly, conceding eight corners — five after halftime — but clearing each one away from danger.
A second goal nearly came in the 74th minute when Tola Showunmi met a ball chipped to the front of goal, but his shot sailed high over the net.
Things got chippy in the six minutes of stoppage time, as Hounds players came to Waite’s defense after Keegan Hughes barrelled into the goalkeeper after a catch, drawing a yellow card. At the other end of the field, Edward Kizza was sent off with a minute to play after getting tangled with Crew defenders while trying to run out the clock.
Hounds Man of the Match
Jahmali Waite made three total saves for his fourth overall shutout — two in cup play and two in USL matches — but his biggest value was his command of the goal box, catching and punching the ball effectively facing eight corners and a handful of set pieces from the Crew.
The Hounds will return to USL Championship play at 6 p.m. Sunday, when they travel to face Loudoun United FC (3-7-1) at Segra Field in Leesburg, Va.
Riverhounds SC lineup (5-4-1) — Jahmali Waite; Luke Biasi, Mike DeShields (Pat Hogan 87’), Nate Dossantos, Arturo Ordóñez, DZ Harmon (Trevor Zwetsloot 74’); Danny Griffin, Marc Ybarra, Albert Dikwa (Kenardo Forbes 57’), Robbie Mertz (Junior Etou 74’); Tola Showunmi (Edward Kizza 87’, sent off 90+5’)
Columbus Crew lineup (3-4-3) — Evan Bush; Keegan Hughes, Philip Quinton (Mohamed Farsi 77’), Gustavo Vallecilla (Malte Amundsen 59’); Jimmy Medranda (Aidan Morris 77’), Sean Zawadzki, Isaiah Parente, Thomas Roberts (Gibran Rayo 60’); Christian Ramirez, Jaces Russell-Rowe, Max Arfsten (Taha Habroune 90+3’)
PIT — Albert Dikwa 22’ (Robbie Mertz)
PIT — Danny Griffin 62’ (caution – reckless foul)
CLB — Keegan Hughes 90+3’ (caution – reckless foul)
PIT — Edward Kizza 90+5’ (sent off – violent conduct)