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Hounds fall in conference semifinals to Louisville, 2-1

By Riverhounds Staff, 11/02/19, 10:15PM EDT

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PITTSBURGH (November 2, 2019) - No. 1 seed Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC dropped a 2-1 result to No. 4 seed Louisville City FC in extra time on Saturday night at Highmark Stadium. The loss eliminates the club from the USL Championship playoffs.

A record 6,073 fans attended the match. This breaks Highmark Stadium’s previous attendance record, which was set last weekend (5,627).

Louisville’s Paolo DelPiccolo netted the game-winning goal in the 118th minute. Thomas Vancaeyezeele scored Pittsburgh’s lone goal in the 11th minute.

First Half

Riverhounds SC came out of the gate blazing, wasting no time to get involved on the attacking end.

Mouhamed Dabo nearly opened up the scoring in the 11th minute, but his chance was denied by a diving Chris Hubbard.

On the ensuing corner kick, Kenardo Forbes connected with Vancaeyezeele, who headed the ball into the back of the net to put the Hounds on the scoreboard.

The pace of play simmered down for the next 30 minutes or so, with neither team able to record a shot during that span.

Neco Brett fired the Hounds’ third shot on goal of the night in the 44th minute, but Louisville’s keeper Hubbard once again came up with a save.

After the first-45 minutes of play, Pittsburgh carried a 1-0 lead into the halftime break.

Second Half

Brett had another go at goal in the 50th minute, after dancing around several Louisville defenders. The 27-year-old booted a ball toward an open net, but a quick recovery from Louisville defender Paco Craig  kept the score at 1-0.

Just a minute later, Louisville’s Luke Spencer knotted things at 1-1. Spencer sent a shot from the top of the penalty area passed Kyle Morton.

Spencer nearly found the back of the net again in the 79th minute, placing a shot just over the cage.

Both teams created a number of chances during the remainder of the half, but 90 minutes was not enough to decide the winner of the match.

Extra Time

Lousville had a chance to break the game open in the 94th minute on a run from Brian Ownby. Ownby sent a shot on goal, though Morton came off his mark and managed to shut down the attempt.

The Black and Gold responded with a long chance from Forbes, which sailed right of the cage.

Louisville’s Abdou Thiam fired the most dangerous shot of the opening period of extra time in the 105th minute, as his right footed-attempt rang off the post.

Louisville buried the game-winner in the 118th minute. DelPiccolo headed an effort from the center of the penalty area into the back of the net, giving his club a 2-1 lead.

Riverhounds SC was unable to retaliate in the final minutes of the match and lost its first game at Highmark Stadium in more than a year.

Hound of the Match 

Thomas Vancaeyezeele made his presence known on both ends of the pitch. The defender buried his club’s lone goal of the match and finished with seven clearances and three interceptions.

Beyond the Stats, presented by Beyond Self Storage

Neco Brett led Riverhounds SC with three key passes on the night.


Lineups:

Riverhounds SC: Kyle Morton; Ryan James, Tobi Adewole, Thomas Vancaeyezeele, Joe Greenspan, Jordan Dover (Mark Forrest 117'); Kenardo Forbes, Robbie Mertz, Mouhamed Dabo, Kevin Kerr (Steevan Dos Santos 74'); Neco Brett

Subs not used: Austin Pack, Noah Franke, Dani Rovira, Uchenna Uzo, Anthony Velarde

Louisville City FC: Chris Hubbard; Oscar Jimenez, Paco Craig, Sean Totsch, Pat McMahon; Napo Matsoso (Brian Ownby 60'), Devon Williams, Magnus Rasmussen (Paolo DelPiccolo 85'); Niall McCabe, Luke Spencer (Abdou Mbacke Thiam 89'), Antoine Hoppenot (George Davis IV 97')

Subs not used: Tim Dobrowolski, Alexis Souahy, Akil Watts

Scoring Summary:

PIT - Thomas Vancaeyezeele 11' (Kenardo Forbes)

LOU - Luke Spencer 51'

LOU - Paolo DelPiccolo 118'

Misconduct Summary:

PIT - Joe Greenspan 48' (caution)

LOU - Pat McMahon 54' (caution)

LOU - Paco Craig 70' (caution)

LOU - Luke Spencer 85' (caution)


Quotes

Head coach Bob Lilley

On his message to the players during the huddle after the match...

"It's disappointing. They had a great season. Didn't play well tonight in any phase. When we hit crosses, the movement in the box wasn't good enough. We didn't pass the ball all night, just kicked it forward. That's disappointing as anything."

On Louisville's effort...

"Give Louisville credit. They were down 1-0, they tied it and they found a winner. They were definitely the better team in the overtime. Maybe not in the beginning of the of the first overtime, but the middle of the first and the second, they were the better team."

On the team's elimination...

"They had a great season. Crowd was great. It's disappointing. We had all home games left, I know we haven't lost in over a year at home. It's a tough way to end the season. I'm proud of them for the year they had."

Midfielder Kenardo Forbes

On Bob Lilley's message after the game...

"He just said we didn't execute the game plan, we didn't keep it wide enough.  Louisville is a good defensive team over the years they press us either way and we couldn't get out.  I think that's on me, as the midfielder, to get us in position and I didn't do that tonight." 

On how he would rate this season... 

"To lose like this doesn't do us any justice at the end of the day.  It's a good season, but we didn't achieve the ultimate goal.  I think it's an okay season for me not a really good season because we didn't get the ultimate goal."

Midfielder Thomas Vancaeyezeele

On energy...

"We tried to keep the momentum from the last game, we tried to bring the same energy and get the same result. Unfortunately, that did not happen. So that's really frustrating."

On what the team could've changed...

"I think we didn't keep the ball enough and they were feeling more comfortable having chances and you couldn't get out so that was hard for us."

On the winning goal...

"Really frustrating, you can see it going in and you can't do anything about it. In my head I was like maybe we are going to score another one, but I couldn't reach it, I couldn't get it, really frustrating."