PITTSBURGH (Feb. 6, 2024) — The Pittsburgh Riverhounds got their 2024 preseason schedule started by hosting fellow USL Championship club Indy Eleven, and the two Eastern Conference playoff teams shined defensively by battling to a 0-0 draw this afternoon at Highmark Stadium.
Both teams had a goal disallowed for offside in the match, but neither side was able to make a chance count as both Hounds coach Bob Lilley and new Indy coach Sean McAuley used their benches extensively in the second half after both starting with veteran-laden lineups.
Indy was first to put a ball in the net when Augustine Williams redirected a shot standing inside the Pittsburgh six-yard box, but the flag was raised to wipe out the 18th-minute scoring chance.
Robbie Mertz, one of the Hounds’ veteran starters, narrowly missed wide of the post on a chance moments later, and late in the first half, he created one last great opportunity by getting into the left side of the box and sending a dangerous pass to the front that Indy had to clear behind for a corner kick.
The Hounds’ chances picked up early in the second half, starting with a header by defender Illal Osumanu that bounced wide on a play beginning from a corner kick in the 55th minute. Three minutes later, Dani Rovira created an Indy turnover and set up Hounds newcomer Babacar Diene, who dribbled his way into the box and got away a powerful shot that missed high of the net.
In the 81st minute, trialist Jelldrik Dallman headed a Sean Suber cross into the net, only to have his finish wiped out by the offside flag. Dallman came close again when he redirected a free kick by Langston Blackstock into the crossbar, but the ball bounced away to safety for Indy.
Indy also had a good chance late when a cross found Diego Sanchez with space on the left side, but Pat Hogan recovered across the front of goal to block away the final scoring opportunity.
The Hounds kept the clean sheet in net with two goalkeepers splitting time — new signing Eric Dick in the first half and trialist Gabriel Perrotta in the second.
Next up is a short turnaround for the Hounds, who hit the road to face Loudoun United FC in their second of five preseason games at 1 p.m. Friday in Leesburg, Va.