Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC (5-2-7) and its offense stayed hot this past weekend, posting four tallies in a 4-1 victory against Birmingham Legion FC (3-10-4) on Saturday at Highmark Stadium.
In the match, Robbie Mertz posted the team’s first brace of this regular season whereas Steevan Dos Santos and Christian Volesky also jumped in the scoring action. Here is how the Hounds earned three points at home.
13’ Steevan Dos Santos assisted by Neco Brett
Dos Santos assisted Brett on a breakaway last week. Now, it was Brett’s turn to return the favor.
Seen above, Brett (yellow arrow) spots a streaking Dos Santos (green arrow), who times a run up the field. The striker plays a great ball into the attacking field, leading the Cape Verde native toward the goal. With Birmingham goalkeeper Matt Van Oekel coming out to challenge the opportunity, Dos Santos uses touch to place the ball by him and give the Hounds a 1-0 lead.
25’ Robbie Mertz assisted by Kevin Kerr
For the Hounds’ second goal of the match, Mertz took to the sky.
Off a cross into the penalty area by midfielder Kevin Kerr (yellow arrow), Mertz (green arrow) found himself one-on-one with Birmingham defender Tyler Turner. Ultimately, Mertz (5 feet 7 inches) wins the ball over Turner (5 feet 11 inches) to provide the Black and Gold with a 2-0 advantage.
39’ Robbie Mertz assisted by Kevin Kerr
The duo of Mertz and Kerr made an encore performance 14 minutes later.
Just like the first go around, Kerr (yellow arrow) sends a ball into the penalty box that the rookie chases down. Depicted above via a blue line, Mertz (green arrow) will fill a space that is cleared out by a couple Pittsburgh strikers. The midfielder will then follow through to blast a shot into the net, placing the Hounds ahead by three goals.
75’ Christian Volesky assisted by Anthony Velarde
The fourth goal stemmed from yet another cross across the goalmouth. This time, Anthony Velarde and Volesky hooked up for the tally.
After shaking free of a defender, Velarde (yellow arrow) boots a ball toward Volesky (green arrow). Uncovered by the Birmingham backline, the striker takes advantage of the opportunity and cashes in with a header for the team’s final goal of the night.
Tale of the Tape
On the offensive end, the Hounds were catalyzed by their conversion rate. Already leading the Eastern Conference with a 21 percent conversion rate heading into the match, Pittsburgh scored goals on all four of its shots on target. Seven of the Black and Gold’s nine shots came from close range – inside of the penalty box.
Although logging two more shots on target (6-to-4) than Pittsburgh, Birmingham could only convert on one of these chances. This is partly because two of these chances were blocked by Hounds defenders and another three shots on target occurred from outside of the 18-yard box.