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Adewole's late tally fuels Hounds over Ottawa

By Riverhounds Staff, 04/14/18, 10:15PM EDT

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PITTSBURGH (April 14, 2018) – Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC (2-0-2) picked up its second consecutive victory with a 1-nil result over Ottawa Fury FC (0-3-0) at Highmark Stadium courtesy of a late tally by Tobi Adewole.

Adewole and the Hounds broke a scoreless tie in the 85th minute when he one-touched home a feed from Kevin Kerr.

The Hounds recorded their fourth consecutive shutout to remain the only team in the USL to not allow a goal and the streak set a club record for the current USL era (since 2011). Strong midfield play allowed the Hounds to dominate possession at a 61-39 clip and prevent Fury FC from entering Pittsburgh’s half of the field.

How it Happened - First Half

  • The Hounds dominated possession and looked as strong at moving the ball as they have at any point in the season, but could not break Ottawa’s backline once inside the 18. Pittsburgh won the possession battle, 66-to-34 percent, and it showed, as the Hounds consistently put pressure on Fury FC, but just couldn’t find the back of the net.
  • The Hounds best chance to strike first came in the 27th minute when Neco Brett, fresh off a hat trick last Saturday, got off header from just inside the box in the 27th minute that went just over the crossbar. The opportunity was all made possible thanks to a nice on-the-run feed by Christiano François from well outside the Fury 18 with the right foot.  
  • François was all over the field on Saturday night, dazzling when possessing the ball. Whether he was setting up chances for Brett or making nifty jukes, as he did in the 44th minute when he made a defender trip on a fake, Francois was pivotal to the possession differential. The midfielder finished the matched tied for the team lead in crosses with seven.
  • Ottawa didn’t create many scoring opportunities, but nearly made its only shot of the half count. In the 39th minute, midfielder Kevin Oliveira advanced inside the Hounds’ 18 and got a shot off with the side of his right foot that just missed the right post.

How it Happened - Second Half

  • The Hounds finally cracked through Fury FC’s backline and got some high-quality scoring chances. Seven of the Hounds’ nine shots from inside the box came in the second half, as did two of their three shots on target and eight of their 10 corner kicks.
  • Brett continued attacking the net in the final 45 minutes after a strong first half. He attempted a game-high five shots, many of which were high-quality scoring chances. In the 47th minute, last week’s USL Player of the Week one-touched a Ray Lee setup, but goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau thwarted the opportunity with a diving effort. Brett then attempted a would-be sensational goal with a full-body turning shot after the ball found his feet in the 83rd minute, but the shot sailed wide left and out of play.
  • The Hounds appeared to take the lead in the 65th minute on a Todd Pratzner header. After Thomas Vancaeyezeele headed the ball off the right post via a free-kick feed from Ben Zemanski, Pratzner found the back of the net with a header of his own. However, it would not count because Praztner was offsides on the play. The goal may have not counted, but it was just one of many instances in which the Hounds spent heavy time inside Ottawa’s 18.
  • The intensity of the scoreless match only intensified late in the second half. In the 75th minute things got especially chippy when Zemanski and Cristian Portilla engaged in a brief shoving match and were both shown yellow cards. Those were two of the game’s five yellow cards – all of which came in the second half.
  • The game’s only goal was made possible by Lee staving off a defender as he entered the box and then sent a cross-field pass to Kerr just outside the box. Kerr kept the pass low, but it bounced up enough to perfectly time with Adewole sliding towards the net.
  • Hounds goalkeeper Dan Lynd sealed the shutout with his only save of the game by punching out a long shot by Oliveira in extra time. Lynd had to lunge to his left and had a crowd in front of him, but he was able to spot the ball and record his third clean sheet of the season.

Beyond the Boxscore

  • Adewole’s marker in the 85th minute was his first professional goal. The second-year defender from George Washington University also recorded his first career shot on the play.
  • With the victory, the Hounds are one of only six teams to remain unbeaten in the USL. Louisville City FC and Atlanta United 2 are the only other teams in the Eastern Conference to join the Hounds with that honor.
  • After picking up back-to-back wins against Toronto FC II and Ottawa Fury FC, the Hounds unbeaten record against its Canadian counterparts improves to 8-0-3.
  • The Hounds two wins this season have both come at Highmark Stadium, meaning that they have already equaled half of last season’s home wins through only three matches. A year ago, the Hounds didn’t pick up home win No. 2 until May 3, their then-fifth match at Highmark Stadium.

Up Next

The Hounds hit the road to face FC Cincinnati next Saturday, Apr. 21. This will be the Hounds’ first match away from the Steel City since the season-opener against Nashville SC on March 24. Pittsburgh concluded its first homestand of the year with a 2-0-1 record.    


Lineups:

Riverhounds SC – Dan Lynd – Todd Pratzner, Tobi Adewole, Andrew Lubahn (Kay Banjo 72’), Ray Lee – Mouhamed Dabo, Ben Zemanski (Joe Holland 78’) – Christiano François (Kevin Kerr 72’), Thomas Vancaeyezeele, Kenardo Forbes – Neco Brett

Subs not used: Kyle Morton, Hugh Roberts, Jordan Dover, Bakie Goodman

Ottawa Fury FC – Maxime Crépeau – Eddie Edward, Colin Falvey, Chris Mannella, Sergio Manesio– Christian Portilla, Kevín Oliveira, Gerardo Bruna (Jamar Dixon 61’) – Tony Taylor, Michael Salazar (Adonijah Reid 87’), Steevan Dos Santos (Carl Haworth 65’)

Subs not used: Callum Irving, Jamar Dixon, Thomas Meilleur-Giguère

Scoring Summary:

PGH – Tobi Adewole 85’ (Kevin Kerr)

Misconduct Summary:

OTT – Gerardo Bruna 57’ (caution)

OTT – Christian Portilla 75’ (caution)

PGH – Ben Zemanski 75’ (caution)

PGH – Todd Pratzner 92’ (caution)

OTT – Eddie Edward 94’ (caution)


Quote Sheet

Head coach Bob Lilley

On improvement…

“We’ll continue to get better on getting on the end of these crosses but we have to be able to fight through these moments. Every game in this league, home or away will pose new challenges.”

On continuing shutouts…

“I think it was a deserved three points and now we just move on to the next one. If we can keep posting shutouts at home, then I think we will win our fair share of games.”

On chippy play in the midfield…

“I think center midfielders at times are going to get tangled up. They are in close quarters the whole game. We have to be careful because I am not big on getting cards but so far I think the discipline record has been pretty good.”

On future games…

“I know teams in mid-season are going to move the ball faster and they are going to be cleaner. We’re going to have to go on bigger surfaces and be able to shut down space. We have benefited from three home games at this point.”

Midfielder Kevin Kerr

On his assist of Tobi Adewole’s game-winning goal…

“Just played it along the line. It’s something we go over and over in training. Playing that ball in between the keeper and the six-yard box. Tobi did his bit, and we needed someone to step up and get it over the line. It was a great play from him.”

On the momentum late…

“As the game went on, you could see it swinging our way. The field started to tilt, and it was going our way. And they were trying everything in the book to try to slow us down.”

On the benefits of resting more and occasionally coming off the bench…

“I feel great right now. For the last five years, every Sunday, every Monday, I’ve been stiff as a board trying to get back fit. Now I feel like I can go tomorrow. I’m chomping at the bit to train on Monday.”

Defender Tobi Adewole

On his first professional goal…

“The No. 1 thing I was thinking was attack the ball. Be dangerous in the box cause I have size. Got to contribute to the team anyway I can. Keeping shutouts is one thing, but getting a goal is another thing, which I’m blessed to get.”

On the team’s mindset…

“The mindset was keep the ball cause we know Ottawa is a possession oriented team. They like keeping the ball, so we wanted to be on the ball more than them. Attack the goal. Obviously score goals. Play with the same intensity when playing throughout each game.”

On the defense’s performance…

“We believe in each other. We’re covering for each other. We all know that keeping a clean sheet is No. 1 priority of the back four. A lot of pride in our job back there, and I thought we did a good job today.”