NASHVILLE, Tenn. (March 24, 2018) – Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC (0-0-1) captured a point with a nil-nil draw against Nashville SC (0-1-1) at Nissan Stadium to open the 2018 campaign.
In front of a crowd numbering 18,922 in attendance, the shutout effort marked the first for a Hounds squad in a season-opening match since 2013 at Richmond. The overall defensive display was an impressive one, as the Black and Gold outshot the hosts 13-6 despite ceding a 51-49 split in possession.
“Our effort was really encouraging,” head coach Bob Lilley said. "That was our first time out, and the intensity to have to go on the road in that type of environment, we handled it well. It’s always disappointing to not get the full three, but that’s a good team and I think both teams will be significantly better as we go forward.
“We were a bit hesitant to play in the first half. We battled well, but we couldn’t separate ourselves other than from a few chances. I thought we fought our way into the game and was really happy with our second half. They had a few chances on corners late in the game, but I definitely feel we had the better chances and dictated a lot of the play in the second half.”
Action opened at a steady pace with Nashville holding the majority of possession, but finding zero space past the Pittsburgh backline. The Hounds allowed only one shot on goal in the match’s first 45 minutes – a well-positioned save by goalkeeper Dan Lynd on former Hound Lebo Moloto in the 40th minute – while pressing to five shots, but none on goal in their offensive third.
The second half provided much more in the way of fireworks, starting early when Christiano François and Romeo Parkes nearly linked up for the first tally of the match.
Flying with pace into Nashville’s defensive third in the 52nd minute, François worked a give-and-go in the box with Parkes, who sent a left back-heel touch back to the Haitian midfielder. François squared up to flick his take past keeper Matt Pickens only to see the ball ricochet off the right post.
Further taking up residence in the Nashville end, Pickens rose to the challenge with his lone saves in the 53rd and 62nd minute, respectively. First, he stoned Parkes with a diving effort on a sizzling shot on the edge of the box before negating Kevin Kerr’s diving header attempt in close.
The pitch would shift considerably following Pickens’ second save, as the Hounds hunkered down to withstand an offensive barrage from Nashville. Placing five shots overall in the second half, none proved more dangerous than Moloto’s leaping volley in 78th minute. Coming off a corner, Moloto’s right-footed shot from the far post was ticketed on frame, but defender Tobi Adewole was in perfect position to block the would-be tally off the goal line.
Of note, the Hounds received from stellar efforts from the aforementioned Adewole, as well as fellow backline mate Joe Greenspan. Commanding the middle of the defense, Greenspan finished the match with 14 of the Hounds’ 25 clearances in total. On the offensive end, Kerr and Parkes tied for the team lead in shots with three, as well as recorded a shot on goal apiece.
Riverhounds SC now returns home for its home opener next Saturday, March 31. Set to kick off at 7 p.m., the Hounds face Penn FC in a Keystone Derby Cup clash. Tickets to the match are still available and start as low as $13. Purchase today at Riverhounds.com.
Riverhounds SC – Dan Lynd – Todd Pratzner, Joe Greenspan, Tobi Adewole – Ray Lee, Thomas Vancaeyezeele, Joe Holland (Kenardo Forbes 66’), Jordan Dover – Kevin Kerr, Romeo Parkes (Neco Brett 72’), Christiano François (Andrew Lubahn 88’)
Subs not used: Kyle Morton, Kay Banjo, Mouhamed Dabo, Ben Zemanski
Nashville SC – Matt Pickens – Justin Davis, Liam Doyle, Bradley Bourgeois, Kosuke Kimura (Taylor Washington 63’) – Ryan James, Michael Reed, Lebo Moloto, Matt LaGrassa (Bolu Akinyode 77’) – Tucker Hume, Robin Shroot (Ropapa Mensah 57’)
Subs not used: C.J. Cochran, Michael Cox, Josh Hughes, Alan Winn
PIT – Thomas Vancaeyezeele (caution) 18’
NSH – Lebo Moloto (caution) 52’
NSH – Ropapa Mensah (caution) 68’