With the first half of the season completed, The Howler takes a look back at some of the best moments so far in 2018. Today, the midseason review details assists that defined the Hounds’ current second-place standing in the Eastern Conference.
The helpers came from a wide range of Hounds, with eight different players having at least one assist this season and two players (Kevin Kerr and Kenardo Forbes) having a team-high of four assists.
Now let’s take a look at the best assists…
Thomas Vancaeyezeele // April 7 // Toronto FC II
Holding a record of 1-0-1 against Toronto FC II a season ago, the Hounds were looking to continue their high level of play against the in-conference foe in their first meeting of 2018. After a quiet first half of action, each team traded headers at midfield before an opportunity arose for a long pass from the foot of midfielder Thomas Vancaeyezeele. The rookie’s pass floated over the heads of the Toronto defense before spinning back into the path of forward Neco Brett, who slotted a strike past goalkeeper Angelo Cavalluzzo. This assist opened the scoring in Pittsburgh’s eventual 4-0 victory – its first win of the season.
Kenardo Forbes // April 21 // FC Cincinnati
Playing in front of a crowd of 24,505 fans at Nippert Stadium, the Hounds earned the early advantage in the first half before FC Cincinnati came back strong with the equalizer in the 59th minute. Afterward, the Hounds fought back putting high pressure on Cincinnati’s defense and forced a turnover in the back. Kenardo Forbes shook free of a defender, used his space and speed to gain distance and perfectly placed the ball at the feet of an open Thomas Vancaeyezeele for an easy shot and goal. Pittsburgh needed this effort to come away with a point, as FC Cincinnati later notched the score for a 2-2 final result.
Christiano François // April 28 // Atlanta United 2
The Hounds hoped to continue their 2018 unbeaten streak by securing the win against Atlanta United 2. A little more than halfway through the first 45 minutes, Pittsburgh gained the opportunity it was looking for off an assist from Christiano François. Battling with Atlanta’s defense, François quickly stole possession, fleeing down the right side. Keeping his head up and drawing an additional defender, François skirted through danger to find the feet of Neco Brett for the game winner. The 1-0 win helped the Hounds extend their unbeaten streak to six matches at the time.
Kevin Kerr // June 2 // Richmond Kickers
Trailing the Richmond Kickers, 1-0, in the second half, midfielder Kevin Kerr helped begin the comeback effort. On the receiving end of a Ben Zemanski cross, the Pittsburgh captain headed a ball toward striker Neco Brett, who stood at the top of the six-yard box and subsequently headed the ball in the net for the equalizer in the squad’s eventual 2-1 road victory.
Ray Lee // June 16 // New York Red Bulls II
Heading into the June 16 matchup against New York Red Bulls II, Riverhounds SC was looking to flip the script from the last two times the teams faced off. Ray Lee helped the Hounds do just that in the 65th minute off a flawless cross into the middle of the penalty box, where Romeo Parkes headed the ball past the Red Bulls II goalkeeper. Not only was Lee a force in the Hounds’ attack, he also cleared a ball from the Pittsburgh goalmouth in the beginning stages of the second half – all helping preserve the Hounds’ 3-0 victory.