PITTSBURGH (October 5, 2019) - Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC (17-4-11) played to a 1-1 draw against Atlanta United 2 (8-16-8) on Saturday night at Highmark Stadium. The draw gives the Hounds a three-point lead in the Eastern Conference standings.
Neco Brett scored the first goal of the match in the 45th minute for Pittsburgh. Atlanta’s Wesly Decas notched the equalizer in the 87th minute.
The Hounds nearly got on the board in the 5th minute. Brett played a ball off of a cross, and booted a left-footed blast just over the crossbar.
Joe Greenspan nearly struck goal in the 20th minute, but sent a header over the cage.
A penalty kick goal from Brett in the 45th minute gave the Black and Gold a 1-0 advantage. The striker buried the chance into the bottom right corner of the net, beating Atlanta’s goalkeeper Dylan Castanheira.
Riverhounds SC finished the first period of play without allowing a shot on target.
Atlanta United 2 opened up the second half with what was its most dangerous scoring chance of the night. Luiz Fernando fired a left-footed shot from just outside the penalty area, narrowly missing the crossbar.
Both teams were unable to get much going for the next 20 minutes or so of play, and failed to record a shot on target.
A free kick in the 76th minute nearly got Atlanta on the scoreboard. George Campbell headed a chance off of the crossbar, and the score remained 1-0.
United 2 finally struck gold in the 87th minute. Wesly Decas headed a ball from the center of the penalty box just out of reach of Kyle Morton, to knot the score at 1-1.
The Hounds managed to create a number of opportunities in the game’s final minutes, but the score remained tied at the end of the match.
Hound of the Match
Neco Brett’s penalty kick goal gave the Hounds the advantage heading into halftime. The goal marked Brett’s 13th tally of the season.
Stat of the Game: 0
With the win, the Hounds finished the regular season without dropping a single result at Highmark Stadium. The Black and Gold wrapped up the 2019 regular season home slate with a record of 10-0-7.
Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC will travel to take on Saint Louis FC at 8:30 p.m. next Saturday at West Community Stadium. The match will be streamed live for fans on ESPN+.
Riverhounds SC - Kyle Morton, Ryan James, Tobi Adewole (Mark Forrest 89'), Thomas Vancaeyezeele, Joe Greenspan, Jordan Dover, Kenardo Forbes, Kevin Kerr, Mouhamed Dabo, Neco Brett (Dani Rovira 80’), Steevan Dos Santos (Todd Pratzner 86')
Subs not used: Austin Pack, Noah Franke, Anthony Velarde, Uchenna Uzo
Atlanta United 2 - Dylan Castanheira, Michael Ambrose, Wesley Decas, George Campbell, George Bello, Jose Hernandez, Kevin Kratz (Patrick Okonkwo 60’), Laurence Wyke, Jack Metcalf, Luiz Fernando, Amir Bashti (Laurent Kissiedou 77’)
Subs not used: Paul Christensen, Kevin Barajas, Guillermo Benitez
PIT - Neco Brett 45’ (Penalty Kick)
ATL - Wesly Decas 87' (Mikey Ambrose)
ATL - George Campbell 36’ (caution)
ATL - Laurence Wyke 59’ (caution)
PIT - Jordan Dover 62’ (caution)
ATL - Luiz Fernando 72’ (caution)
PIT - Tobi Adewole 74’ (caution)
ATL - Jack Metcalf 76’ (caution)
ATL - Laurent Kissiedou 81’ (caution)
Head coach Bob Lilley
On the game in general...
"Atlanta deserves a lot of credit. They worked hard, they plated at a faster tempo than most of the teams we've been playing recently, and they made it hard for us all game to create chances. For a team that has struggled on the road, they've been unbeaten in their last five against very good teams and now they've made it six."
On his teams' effort...
I thought we worked hard. We worked extremely hard defensively to limit their chances and controlled most of the game. But, it was always on a knife's edge. I would have liked to see us hold on to balls more. I thought we were poor in the attacking end, midfield and forwards all involved in terms of connecting passes and making runs."
On lessons learned...
"We have to be prepared to play quicker. It's the end of a five-game stretch for us. We've logged a lot of miles, and I'm proud that the guys, as I said, they're good. We looked at the tape and we're going to have to play. We're going to have to work and make them uncomfortable. I thought we worked the entire first half like crazy trying to press just to get the goal, and I think we came out and worked as hard as we could in the second half for the second goal."
Forward Neco Brett
On his penalty kick goal...
"I just knew that I had to convert it. We needed a goal. It was the perfect opportunity to get a goal. I was confident, and I already saw the keeper making his move. I just placed the ball on the opposite side."
On the team's overall performance...
"I didn't think we played our best game. Offensively we didn't do a great job. Hopefully next game we can correct that."
On the team peaking at the right time...
"It's the best time. At the end of the day, you have playoffs. That's when you really want to put on your very best, and try to win those games.
Midfielder Kenardo Forbes
On his overall reaction to the game...
"It was a tough result for out last regular season game at home. We didn't play well enough to win this game. We got up 1-0, didn't close it out the way we wanted to. We weren't good enough on the ball tonight. They came in and played us off the ball. It's a tough one."
On Atlanta's goal...
"I was marking that big guy. Obviously I couldn't stay with him in the air, he's much taller than me. Bob [Lilley] yelled at me to kick it out, and I didn't kick it out. It's just one of those days. If we get the sub in, maybe Mark [Forrest] could mark him, I think he's 6'1 or 6'2. Maybe the size would've helped us at the end of the game."
On the team's current status...
"We have to be proud of ourselves after a slow start. I think after the first 12 games we were at 11 points. To fight our way to get back to the top showed tremendous character as a team and individually. We have to be proud of ourselves at this point. Tonight was a low night for us. Next week we can bounce back."