CHESTER, Pa. (July 18, 2020) - Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC (2-0-0) defeated Philadelphia Union II (0-1-1), 6-0, in its first divisional matchup tonight at Subaru Park.
The Hounds started the scoring in the 29th minute, as Ropapa Mensah put one in the bottom-right corner for his 50th point in his USL Championship career. The assist went to Danny Griffin, which would mark the first point in his USL Championship career. Griffin then netted his first professional goal in the 37th minute, giving the Hounds a two-goal lead.
The second half featured more of the same. Kenardo Forbes sent a pass in to Anthony Velarde in the 59th minute, who launched a shot over the keeper to make it 3-0. Then, after being subbed in just a few minutes earlier, Lukas Fernandes netted his first USL Championship goal in the 67th minute. Steevan Dos Santos subbed in for Robbie Mertz in the 81st minute and wasted no time getting on the board. He converted on two headers in a matter of six minutes, extending the lead to 6-0 after all was said and done. The win marks the club's first in Group F and cements its place atop the division.
"We had to battle early on," head coach Bob Lilley said. "They're an athletic team that has pace. The first half was pretty even. We were able to settle down as the half wore on and rotate the ball while finding space in the wide areas. The two goals before half were very important. I thought we played a pretty good second half.
"We were fortunate we didn't concede a goal - the first few good chances fell to Philadelphia. I think once we got on track the guys were intelligent in their play. It's good to see the movement up front. Overall, it was a pretty good performance. It's important that we got our three points and now we can turn our attention to the Indy Eleven game on Wednesday."
Philadelphia used its youth to its advantage early and was able to create a few good chances within the first 15 minutes. After these 15 minutes, though, the Hounds ramped up the pressure and dominated the possession for the rest of the half.
It wouldn’t take long for this constant duress to lead to solid scoring opportunities for the Hounds. Following a corner kick, Griffin sent a left-footed shot just wide of the net in the 28th minute. Just a minute later, Griffin would hit Mensah in space with just the goalkeeper to beat. After the keeper came out to challenge him, Mensah snuck a shot past him, making it 1-0 in favor of the Hounds.
In the 37th minute, the Hounds were on the attack once again. After a beautiful passing display, the ball found its way to Mertz in the center of the penalty box. He got it over to Griffin, who unleashed a right-footed shot into the bottom-left corner, giving the Hounds a two-goal lead.
The Hounds kept the chances coming in the second half. In the 54th minute, a Mensah shot from the right side of the 18-yard box was saved by Philadelphia's Ben Martino. Then, in the 58th minute, Mensah created another opportunity; this time, the shot hit the right post and went out of play.
The Hounds would only have to wait another minute for a golden opportunity to present itself. Forbes sent a beautiful pass to Velarde, who flicked a shot above the goalkeeper, making it 3-0.
Being subbed in just four minutes prior, Fernandes would make his presence felt in the 67th minute. Griffin would send Fernandes a ball into the center of the penalty box, and Fernandes directed the ball into the bottom-left corner, making it 4-0 in favor of the Hounds.
Dos Santos did Fernandes one better and scored just seconds after he entered the match. Following a corner, Forbes sent a cross into the center of the penalty area, where Dos Santos headed the ball into the bottom-right corner, making the score 5-0 in the 81st minute. But Dos Santos wasn’t done yet. He would score on another header in the 87th minute, giving the Hounds a six-goal lead.
For the remainder of the game, Pittsburgh would keep Philadelphia scoreless. This marks goalkeeper Tomas Gomez’s first clean sheet as a Hound.
Hound of the Match, presented by EPIC
Danny Griffin assisted on two of Pittsburgh’s goals, and added a goal of his own in his first career USL Championship start.
Beyond the Box Score, presented by Beyond Self Storage
The win extends the Hounds' regular season point streak, as they have earned a point in each of their last 13 regular season matches. Their last regular season loss was at the hands of North Carolina FC on Aug. 17, 2019.
Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC will play its home opener against Indy Eleven (3-0-0) at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, July 22 at Highmark Stadium. The match will be televised nationally on ESPN2.
Riverhounds SC - Tomas Gomez; Ryan James, Hunter Ashworth, Thomas Vancaeyezeele, Skylar Thomas, Jordan Dover (Dani Rovira 72'); Robbie Mertz (Steevan Dos Santos 81'), Kenardo Forbes, Danny Griffin (Dakota Barnathan 72'); Anthony Velarde (Lukas Fernandes 63'), Ropapa Mensah (Mark Forrest 64')
Subs not used: Danny Vitiello, Xhelil Asani
Philadelphia Union II - Ben Martino; Dante Huckaby, Jamoi Topey (Jack Jasinksi 45'), Benjamin Ofeimu, Nathan Harriel; David Rabadán, Steve Kingue, Zachary Zandi (Luis Flores 45'), Axel Picazo (Selmir Miscic 78'); Yomi Scintu (Quinn Sullivan 45'), Shanyder Borgelin (Saed Díaz 45')
Subs not used: Jack McGlynn
PIT - Ropapa Mensah 29' (Danny Griffin)
PIT - Danny Griffin 37' (Robbie Mertz)
PIT - Anthony Velarde 59' (Kenardo Forbes)
PIT - Lukas Fernandes 67' (Danny Griffin)
PIT - Steevan Dos Santos 81' (Kenardo Forbes)
PIT - Steevan Dos Santos 87' (Kenardo Forbes)
PHI - Nathan Harriel 58' (caution)