PITTSBURGH (May 14, 2019) - Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC defeated the Dayton Dutch Lions FC, 3-0, in the second round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup this Tuesday at Highmark Stadium.
Two second-half goals from forward Neco Brett and an excellent defensive performance from younger members of the Hounds assisted in the victory. Goalkeeper Austin Pack collected a shutout while in net for his first start in a Pittsburgh uniform.
The Black and Gold controlled the pace of play in the first half but were unable to find the back of the net.
Midfielder Robbie Mertz sent a shot toward the bottom right corner of the cage in the 6th minute but was denied by Dayton’s goalkeeper Federico Barrios.
Just minutes later, Brett booted a right-footed attempt on target but another save kept the Hounds off the board.
The duo of Mertz and Brett nearly struck gold again in the 40th minute. Off of a cross from the rookie, Brett sent a shot on target from a difficult angle but the shot was punched away by the goalkeeper.
Riverhounds SC finished the opening period with seven total shots, four of those coming on target. On the defensive side of the pitch, the club managed to hold Dayton to just one total shot in the first 45 minutes.
With an eventful contest in the first 45 minutes, Pittsburgh looked to capitalize early in the second half.
The Riverhounds received a gift inside the 18-yard box with a penalty from a Dayton’s Jake Stovall, setting up a penalty kick attempt from Brett. Pittsburgh converted on the opportunity in the 57th minute, placing it in the lead 1-0.
Pittsburgh kept the barrage on Barrios all night, collecting 15 shots total, with eight of coming in the second half.
Brett was not done with his scoring, collecting another goal in the 69th minute of play. Brett’s drive to the top right corner of the net was set up by a precise pass inside the penalty box by Anthony Velarde.
The Dutch Lions had opportunities late in the second half, none more so with a penalty kick in the 90'+1 minute mark. Dayton’s Jackson Dietrich missed wide to the right, keeping the shutout intact and the score at 2-0.
Pittsburgh collected a late goal from the foot of Velarde in the 90’+2 minute mark, extending the lead for the Hounds, 3-0.
The Riverhounds prevailed by the final score of 3-0 against Dayton. Pittsburgh out-possessed Dayton for most of the match, leading on the scoresheet 59.2 percent to the Dutch Lions’ 40.8 percent.
Hound of the Match
Neco Brett's scoring performance for Pittsburgh made him the prime candidate for Hound of the Match. With his two goals, Brett collected five total shots, four of which were on net.
Stat of the Game: 1,448
1,448 marks the number of days since the Riverhounds last U.S. Open Cup victory at Highmark Stadium. The last victory prior came against the Tampa Bay Rowdies on May 27, 2015.
Riverhounds SC gets back into its USL Championship slate this weekend, heading to Tennessee to take on Memphis 901 FC (2-6-3) at 8 p.m. on Saturday at AutoZone Park. Fans can catch all of the action live on Pittsburgh’s CW.
Riverhounds SC - Austin Pack - Noah Franke, Uchenna Uzo, Thomas Vancaeyezeele, Tobi Adewole, Dani Rovira (Kenardo Forbes 90') - Sammy Kahsai, Ryan James - Robbie Mertz (Jordan Dover 81'), Anthony Velarde - Neco Brett (Steevan Dos Santos 81')
Subs not used: Kyle Morton, Joe Greenspan, Kevin Kerr, Christian Volesky
Dayton Dutch Lions - Federico Barrios - Abdul Kooistra, Eric Hutton, Jake Stovall (Tristan Lyle 81'), Gerogios Charkoutsakis - Harvey Slade, Zachary Buescher - Jackson Dietrich, Tate Robertson Keir, Jonas Fjellberg (Tomás Bernedo 42') - Gabriel Pewu (Donovan Segree 69')
Subs not used: Jack Steele, Jasminko Dizdarevic, Austin Kinley, James Lamb
PIT - Neco Brett 57' (penalty)
PIT - Neco Brett 69' (Anthony Velarde)
PIT - Anthony Velarde 90'+2 (Jordan Dover)
Assistant coach Dan Visser
"I don't know if it was so many adjustments as much as kind of continuing to do some of the same things and finish some chances. I thought we had some opportunities early to score Neco was in and he did finish in the second half. I think that was probably as much of a difference as anything."
On the new lineup...
"I think the open cup is great for that. For one its a mid-week game so just in terms of saving some legs for the weekend some rotation is necessary. But then the nature of the open cup just allows us to get some new faces in, and I think they showed well."
On goalkeeper Austin Pack...
"I think it was really good, Austin is a guy that we signed later, so we've been getting to know him in the last couple weeks. This was a date we had in our heads where we wanted to see him play. I think he showed very well."
Midfielder Anthony Velarde
On playing a full 90 minutes...
“I think it’s always good to play the full 90. I’m used to playing until the 70th minute and then coming off. It was a good experience. It’s always good to play a full 90, then look back at the game and see how you played the full 90 instead of coming off the bench. I was fortunate to get a good play, Jordan found me and I was just able to put it away. It feels good.”
On the play of the second unit...
“It was good. I think the players that came in that haven’t gotten much minutes, they came and preformed. I think that’s what you ask for for a professional player. It doesn’t matter if he doesn’t get as much minutes as others. When you get your number called, you’re there to preform and I think they did a great job.”
Forward Neco Brett
On the effort from Robbie Mertz...
“His effort was really good. As Anthony said earlier, all of us, we’re professionals. Whenever the coach calls on you, you have to show up. That’s his job to get out there and do his very best. It doesn’t matter if you’re a rookie or if you’ve played a few years in the league.”
On his second goal...
“I was confident. I’ve been working hard all week and trying to score goals. It was just one of those chances and I made use of it.”
On if the second half momentum can be carried over to Saturday’s match...
“For me, yes, and for the team also. You want to be winning and as a forward you want to be scoring goals. This is where you’re getting opportunities to score goals and also build your confidence.”