PITTSBURGH (April 28, 2018) – Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC (3-0-3) remains unbeaten to start the 2018 campaign after notching a 1-0 victory against Atlanta United 2 (1-2-3) on Saturday at Highmark Stadium.
Scoring the lone goal of the game in the 26th minute, Neco Brett increased his team-leading total to nine points. With the win, Pittsburgh extends its club-record streak to six games unbeaten to start the season. Furthermore, the Hounds still have not trailed in a match this season after 540 minutes of play.
How It Happened
The first half all but belonged to Christiano François, as the Hounds frequently attacked the right side of the Atlanta defense.
His golden moment came via an assist on a Neco Brett goal in the 26th minute. François stole the ball from an opponent and dribbled along the end line before finding the striker stationed at the edge of the six-yard box. Brett then received the pass, moved to his left and placed a left-footed shot past Atlanta United 2 goalkeeper Paul Christensen.
Registering two chances created during the first half, the Cabaret, Haiti native just missed a goal of his own in the 12th minute. Fielding a pass from Ray Lee, François attempted a point-blank shot at the near post. The ball did not drop to him as quickly as he thought, and his volley sailed over the crossbar.
In the 36th minute, François had a second chance for a tally and an opportunity to extend the Hounds’ lead to 2-0. He fired a shot toward the far post, but the ball sped wide of the net.
During the second half, François was at it again and for a fleeting moment seemingly scored the second goal of the game for the Hounds. However, the tally was waved off soon after the ball hit the net, as it was ruled he committed a handball in the 18-yard box while maneuvering around Christensen.
Atlanta United 2 had a chance to knot the score at 1-1 in the 78th minute. Awarded a free kick from just outside the penalty area after a Pittsburgh foul, midfielder Andrew Carleton fired a shot at the net. His take missed the target and sailed over the crossbar.
In the 82nd minute, Atlanta’s fortunes continued to take a turn for the worse. As Romeo Parkes bolted down the left side of the pitch, defender Miles Robinson knocked him to the ground. Robinson was issued his second yellow card of the match, and Atlanta played the remainder of the game with man disadvantage. The Hounds went on to hold the lead and came away with the 1-0 victory.
Man of the Match
Neco Brett’s fourth tally of the season turned out to be the game-winner against Atlanta United 2. The striker also recorded one of the team’s three shots on target for the match.
Stat of the Game
The Pittsburgh backline shut down the Atlanta attack and allowed zero shots on goal on the way to the team’s fifth clean sheet in six games this season.
Beyond the Box Score
Riverhounds SC will hit the road for a match against Toronto FC II (0-4-2) at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Marina Auto Stadium (formerly Capelli Sport Stadium) in Rochester, New York. The match will mark head coach Bob Lilley’s return to his old stomping grounds, as he coached the Rochester Rhinos for six seasons before arriving in Pittsburgh.
Riverhounds SC – Kyle Morton – Ray Lee, Tobi Adewole, Thomas Vancaeyezeele, Todd Pratzner, Jordan Dover –Mouhamed Dabo, Kenardo Forbes, Jordan Dover – Kevin Kerr (Ben Zemanski 71’), Christiano François (Hugh Roberts 91’) – Neco Brett (Romeo Parkes 69’)
Subs not used: Dan Lynd, Kay Banjo, Bakie Goodman, Andrew Lubahn
Atlanta United 2 – Paul Christensen – Mikey Ambrose, AJ Cochran, Miles Robinson, Jack Metcalf – Andrew Kendall-Moullin, Ollie Shannon, Chris Goslin (Lagos Kunga 53’), Andrew Carleton (Laurent Kissiedou 89’), Jon Gallagher – Devon Sandoval
Subs not used: Nico Caraux, Kevin Barajas, Jose Carranza, Jackson Conway, Shawn Nicklaw
PGH – Neco Brett 26’ (Christiano François)
PGH – Christiano François 61’ (caution)
ATL – Miles Robinson 75’ (caution)
ATL – Miles Robinson 81’ (caution + red)
ATL – Jack Metcalf 84’ (caution)
Head coach Bob Lilley
On the club’s patience…
“We showed a little more patience. The goal is a perfect example, we got in and Christiano paused a bit and allowed Neco to get open. Seeing us relaxed and confident, we made some good choices to get guys into great spots.”
On the performance of the bench…
“Sometimes it’s tough when you have a deep squad. Zemanski is certainly capable of starting and we have a little bit of rotation going on. I think there are plenty of guys contributing. We were even debating at the end do we put on Lubahn or Hugh.”
On continuing to improve…
“We showed some growth tonight even from last week. We did a lot of good things in Cincinnati but I think we played as well or better. We were more consistent through the 90 minutes.”
Midfielder Christiano François
On pairing up with Jordan Dover on the right side…
“Jordan is very good offensively and it’s our second year playing together since Rochester. It’s easier for us to understand each other. We have been working very hard in training which made it easier to give a good performance tonight.”
On producing offensively…
“Every time I come out, I just want to score or get an assist because that’s my job as a winger. That’s why the coach plays me because he believes in me. Every time I come out I have to give a good performance to help the team win.”
“They are very good players and have very good qualities. I played with their left back in college so I already knew how he played. He’s good with his feet so I had to stay closer to him to defend him.”