CHARLESTON, S.C. (April 8, 2017) – The Pittsburgh Riverhounds picked up their first win of the year in epic fashion, defeating the Charleston Battery, 2-1, off a Corey Hertzog tally in second-half stoppage time at MUSC Health Stadium.
The Hounds (1-1-1) rallied from a one-goal deficit at the half, scoring two unanswered to serve Charleston (2-1-0) its first loss of the season, as well as pick up their first win against the Battery since 2011.
Notching the other tally for Pittsburgh was Marshall Hollingsworth in the 59th minute, while Ataullah Guerra opened the match’s scoring in the 8th minute.
Play opened at a frantic pace with the Battery recording four attempts on goal in the first eight minutes. The last of the four put the home side ahead, as Guerra received a fortunate bounce off a ball in by Dante Marini. Creating space just outside the box amongst several Hounds players, Guerra then slotted his shot near post for the first goal of the match.
The Hounds took another hit only minutes later after midfielder Ben Swanson was knocked out of the game via a hard foul by Romario Williams.
Play swung in Charleston’s favor following the Swanson injury, but the Hounds were able to weather the storm. They ended the first half strong, nearly equalizing off a take by Kerr in first-half stoppage time. The Hounds captain collected a nice through-ball from Hertzog, but the fingertips of Charleston goalkeeper Alex Tambakis negated the potential equalizer.
Starting the second half, it was Pittsburgh pushing the pace of play instead of Charleston, forcing the Battery to defend multiple chances within the first 10 minutes.
The effort would finally pay off after head coach Dave Brandt capitalized on the offensive momentum, swapping out defender Taylor Washington for rookie forward Kay Banjo in the 57th minute. The shift pushed Banjo up top alongside Hertzog, while Kerr moved to Thompson’s position at midfield wing.
Immediately paying dividends only minutes later, Banjo and Hollingsworth worked a stellar give-and-go at the top of the 18, with the latter firing home a shot to the right of Tambakis. The goal was the first of Hollingsworth’s career with the Hounds.
The search for three points did not relent, as Banjo took center stage once again in the 72nd minute. Playing a useful feed from Hertzog, the forward was all alone at point-blank range, but saw his shot saved by a stellar effort from Tambakis, who robbed the Hounds of a would-be goal for the second time in the match.
Charleston recaptured possession for the better part of the following 15 minutes, as the match looked destined to finish at a draw.
Stoppage time said otherwise. Taking advantage of a Battery turnover just outside the attacking third in the first minute of extra time, Kerr pushed play, sending a beauty of a cross from distance into Hertzog. The club’s leading goal-scorer wasted no time, connecting on a diving header just outside the six-yard box to put the Hounds ahead. The goal was Hertzog’s third of the year and 16th overall with the Hounds, as he moved into eighth all-time in club history.
The first win of the year would not come easily for the Hounds though, as a furious response from the Battery nearly resulted in an equalizer only moments later off a set piece. The would-be goal was fortunately called offside and the 2-1 score held until the final whistle.
With the victory, the Hounds vaulted themselves into currently the top-eight in the Eastern Conference.
Pittsburgh has a quick turnaround, as the club will face Saint Louis FC at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 12 at Highmark Stadium. Tickets to the match are still available and can be purchased by visiting Riverhounds.com.
Riverhounds – Trey Mitchell – Taylor Washington (Kay Banjo 57’), Lalas Abubakar, Jamal Jack, Rich Balchan – Marshall Hollingsworth (Kenroy Howell 82’), Victor Souto, Ben Swanson (Abuchi Obinwa 13’), Jack Thompson – Kevin Kerr, Corey Hertzog
Subs not used: Keasel Broome, Ben Fitzpatrick, Mike Green, Nick Thompson
Charleston Battery – Alex Tambakis – Mikey Ambrose, Forrest Lasso, Taylor Mueller, Quinton Griffith – Dante Marini, Justin Portillo, Neveal Hackshaw (Tah Brian Anunga 68’), Maikel Chang – Ataullah Guerra (Kotaro Higashi 86’), Romario Williams (Heviel Cordoves 74’)
Subs not used: Odisnel Cooper, Ricky Garbanzo, Jeffrey Oto, Nico Rittmeyer
CHS – Ataullah Guerra (Dante Marini) – 8’
PGH – Marshall Hollingsworth (Kay Banjo) – 59’
PGH – Corey Hertzog (Kevin Kerr) – 90’+
CHS – Romario Williams (Caution) – 44’
PGH – Abuchi Obinwa (Caution) – 73’
CHS – Justin Portillo (Caution) – 85’