PITTSBURGH (April 12, 2017) – The Pittsburgh Riverhounds (1-2-1) struck first early, but were unable to hold off Saint Louis FC (3-0-1), eventually falling 2-1 at Highmark Stadium.
Notching the lone tally for Pittsburgh was rookie Kay Banjo in the 5th minute, while former Hound Jose Angulo scored in the 30th minute and Christian Volesky added the game-winner in the 67th minute.
Making his first career professional start, Banjo put the Hounds up early thanks to a botched clearance by Saint Louis goalkeeper Devala Gorrick. Banjo collected the ball a little outside of the 18-yard box and pushed toward the goal, firing a shot to the right of a diving Gorrick for the lead.
The tally was the first of his professional career, as the UMBC product pushed his point total to three on the year – tying him with both Marshall Hollingsworth and Kevin Kerr for second most on the team.
Moments after a near chance for Saint Louis was pushed wide of the goal in the 14th minute, Banjo was right back in the action, nearly picking up his second goal of the match. The forward beat Gorrick with a well-placed low shot, but the ball found the inner part of the left post to keep the score at 1-0.
The missed opportunity proved costly, as Saint Louis defender Wes Charpie sent a low, seeing-eye cross from the right side only minutes later. His pass missed four Hounds in the process and landed at the feet of Angulo. Receiving the ball cleanly, Angulo created space in tight, pushed the ball to his left foot and fired a perfectly placed shot by Hounds goalkeeper Keasel Broome.
Coming out of the first half level, play picked up immediately with an early corner for the Hounds providing their most dangerous chance in the match’s final half. Pittsburgh though was unable to convert, as Jamal Jack’s strong header on goal forced a nice reaction save from Gorrick in the 47th minute.
Both teams traded possession in the midfield in the ensuing action until Saint Louis was finally able to breakthrough 67 minutes in. Charpie was involved a second time, again sending a seeing-eye ball in, this time a 30-plus yard through-ball to find Volesky between two defenders in the box. The former Rochester Rhino did the rest, one-touching his shot past Broome to give the visitors the lead.
Pittsburgh would push for the equalizer, including bringing on further attacking threats in Chevaughn Walsh, making his season debut, Mike Green and Kenroy Howell, but ultimately did not threaten again.
The club’s second defeat came with plenty of adversity, as the Hounds had to improvise on multiple occasions without the use of key contributors. Right back Rich Balchan became a late scratch pregame after the defender was deemed unable to play due to a lower-body injury. In-game, meanwhile, saw leading goal scorer Corey Hertzog appear to get banged up in the second half and eventually be subbed out for Walsh in the 78th minute. Further updates on the statuses of both players will be provided later this week.
With the defeat, the Hounds now look ahead to another tough road test in the Charlotte Independence (0-1-1) at 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 15. For more information on Saturday’s match, visit Riverhounds.com.
Riverhounds - Keasel Broome – Taylor Washington, Jamal Jack, Joe Greenspan, Jack Thompson– Victor Souto, Abuchi Obinwa (Michael Green 67’), Marshall Hollingsworth (Kenroy Howell 83’), Kevin Kerr – Kay Banjo, Corey Hertzog (Chevaughn Walsh 78’)
Subs not used: Trey Mitchell, Nick Thompson, Ben Fitzpatrick, Danny Earls
Saint Louis FC - Devala Gorrick – Wes Charpie, A.J. Cochran, Austin Ledbetter, Ryan Howe (Matt Sheldon 45’) – Mats Bjurman, Tyler David, Octavio Guzman, Dragon Stojkov – Jose Angulo (Seth Rudolph 82’), Christian Volesky (Max Alvarez 68’)
Subs not used: Jack Filla, Aedan Stanley, Konrad Plewa, Denis Ahmentovic
PGH – Kay Banjo 5’
STL – Jose Angulo 30’ (Wes Charpie)
STL – Christian Volesky 67’ (Wes Charpie)
STL – Ryan Howe 42’ (caution)
Cleveland Brother's "Blue Collar Player of the Game"
On subbing for Corey Hertzog…
“I took him out. He didn’t ask to come out. I’m not sure. I haven’t talked to him, but he got hit hard in the box – that ankle. I didn’t feel like he was the same afterward. I didn’t ask him because Corey would never come out if he had two broken legs. I hoped that [Chevaughn Walsh’s] physicality would give us a spark.”
On deciding to start Kay Banjo…
“We started Kay because Rich Balchan couldn’t play. Rich is the right back and has a groin [injury]. That was a pretty close to game decision that he couldn’t go. That forced a litany of changes where we dropped Jack [Thompson] into the back, Kevin [Kerr] into the wing line and started Kay. We were going to need to adjust in someway. That’s the way we chose to adjust.”
On the play of newcomer Joe Greenspan…
“I thought he played well. Obviously there were a couple goals – we know that. I thought Joe was very solid back there. I think for the most part, we were pretty tight.”
On what he saw on the first goal…
“I wasn’t expecting that, but the high-pressure worked. It just came to my feet and I had to finish that because that’s early. We have to set the tone.”
On his teammates support…
“They’ve talked to me throughout the whole season. I’ve been unlucky with scoring. I get my chances, but I just happen to not finish them. I get very unlucky, but today, it was my day.”
On the differences between starting and subbing…
“You just have to be ready at any point. It’s not a matter of starting or coming in. You just always have to have an impact on the game.”