Neco Brett picked up possession at midfield. Without hesitation, the midfielder lofted a pass upfield, playing a perfect ball to the charging Steevan Dos Santos.
Dos Santos fielded the pass from Brett, and chipped the chance over the goalkeeper to put his club on the board in the 13th minute of last Saturday’s 4-1 win over Birmingham Legion FC.
Just a week before the duo put together a nearly identical sequence against New York Red Bulls II. This time, roles were reversed, and it was Dos Santos winning possession at the halfway line. Dos Santos hit Brett on a run with a pass, and Brett lofted a shot past the goalkeeper to give the Hounds a 1-0 lead.
“Nowadays, before I even get the ball I know exactly where he’s at,” Brett said. “I know the type of runs he likes to make, and vice-versa. He knows exactly what I like to do. It’s coming on, the chemistry, and we’re just trying to make things better.”
The combo of Brett and Dos Santos have now linked up to score in three consecutive matches, and the club has earned victories in each of those contests. Months of training and playing together have the pair on the same page, and the results are finally starting to show.
“It’s good for me and it’s good for him to be on this three-game streak,” Dos Santos said. “The last game, he didn’t score but he assisted for me. If I don’t score, I assist to him. It’s the same way. When you play together, at some point the chemistry is going to grow. Even in training, we’re getting better. We’re moving that to the games and it’s helping us score goals.”
Brett and Dos Santos aren’t the only ones revving up their offensive production. The Black and Gold’s attack as a whole has been deadly in the last three games, stringing a total of 12 goals together in that period.
Twelve tallies over a three match span is always impressive, but is especially noteworthy considering the slow start the Hounds’ attack had at the beginning of the season. The unit up top made necessary adjustments, and to see their efforts paying off has been a rewarding feeling for the group.
“It’s not just weight off my shoulders, but the whole team’s as well,” Brett said. “It’s a team sport, and we just want to get into the top five [of the Eastern Conference]. We want to make sure we can get a home playoff game. So we’re working toward that.”
Just three points separate Pittsburgh RIverhounds SC and Bethlehem Steel FC in the Eastern Conference standings. With Bethlehem taking the cross-state trip this Thursday to Highmark Stadium, Brett and Dos Santos know they have to keep the ball rolling.
“We just have to be focused," Dos Santos said. "We know that Bethlehem is a good team. We tied them at the beginning of the season. They have some young guys, some talent.”
Brett echoed Dos Santos’ thoughts, explaining that the club just wants to continue to make progress on the Eastern Conference leaderboard.
“We’re just trying to keep the momentum going. Rivalry game. We need three points. Most important thing is, whichever way, we need to get three points.”