PITTSBURGH (Aug. 1, 2018) – Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC (10-3-7) dominated play in its 3-0 win against the Richmond Kickers (5-12-3) on Wednesday at Highmark Stadium.
Forward Neco Brett put the Hounds up early with a goal in the 5th minute, and the squad did not look back en route to its team-record 13th clean sheet this season. With the victory, Pittsburgh sweeps the season series (2-0-0) against Richmond and snaps a two-game losing streak.
How It Happened
The Hounds displayed urgency from the opening whistle, and it did not take long for the squad to cash in on an opportunity.
Neco Brett started the Hounds off on the right foot. Fielding a misplayed header in the attacking third during the 5th minute, the striker collected the sphere and dribbled toward the penalty area before ripping a shot into the back of the net from atop of the 18-yard box.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Hounds allowed only three shots in the first half – none of which were on target. Furthermore, two of these shots were blocked, including one from the goal-scoring Brett. The forward blocked a shot near the top of the penalty box following a Richmond corner kick.
In the second half, Brett added his second goal of the match.
As attacking winger Christiano François sprinted down the left flank, he sent the ball back into the middle to Kenardo Forbes, who then sent a vertical pass to Brett. To complete his brace, Brett fired a shot into the bottom-left hand corner by Richmond goalkeeper Trevor Spangenberg to provide the Hounds with a 2-0 lead in the 69th minute.
Soon after, the Hounds notched their third and final goal of the match. Subbing on for François in the 77th minute, Ben Fitzpatrick scored his first goal of the season – and his professional career – just four minutes later. Making his season debut, Fitzpatrick fielded a pass from Forbes before finishing his take far post to beat Spangenberg.
Before the Hounds broke the game open, Richmond had a chance to knot the score at 1-1 in the 59th minute. Following a Pittsburgh foul at the top of its arc, Brian Shriver took the free kick opportunity for the Kickers, although his shot deflected off the wall.
Man of the Match
After missing one match due to a neck injury, forward Neco Brett led the Hounds’ offense against Richmond. In addition to notching his ninth and 10th goals of the campaign, Brett led the team in shots (four) and shots on goal (four).
Stat of the Game
Posting his 10th shutout of the season, goalkeeper Dan Lynd sets an all-time club record in single-season clean sheets. He breaks a tie he held with former keepers Randy Dedini and Hunter Gilstrap.
Beyond the Box Score
Riverhounds SC will stay in Pittsburgh for a weekend showdown against Toronto FC II (1-15-3) at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Highmark Stadium. The Black and Gold defeated Toronto in two earlier meetings this season.
Riverhounds SC – Dan Lynd – Andrew Lubahn (Joe Greenspan 65’), Todd Pratzner, Hugh Roberts, Jordan Dover, Noah Franke – Mohamed Dabo, Thomas Vancaeyezeele, Ben Zemanski (Kenardo Forbes 65’) – Christiano François (Ben Fitzpatrick 77’), – Neco Brett
Subs not used: Mike Kirk, Ray Lee, Kevin Kerr, Kenardo Forbes, Kay Banjo
Richmond Kickers – Trevor Spangenberg – Austin Yearwood, Mekeil Williams, Connor Shanosky – Matthew Bolduc, Raul Gonzalez, Braeden Troyer, Fred Owusu Sekyere (Heviel Cordovés 70’), Neil Hlavaty (Brandon Eaton 75’) – Giuseppe Gentile (Luiz Fernando 83’), Brian Shriver
Subs not used: Travis Worra, Scott Thomsen, Greg Boehme, Yudai Imura
Neco Brett 5’
Neco Brett 69’ (Kenardo Forbes)
Ben Fitzpatrick 81’ (Kenardo Forbes)
PGH – Ben Zemanski 42’ (caution)
PGH – Andrew Lubahn 49’ (caution)
PGH – Todd Pratzner 58’ (caution)
RCH – Matthew Bolduc 62’ (caution)
RCH – Mekeil Williams 84’ (caution)
Head coach Bob Lilley
On the team's aggressiveness...
"I think we were ready to press. I don't think we were waiting for something to happen. I think we had intent tonight. That's why we got rewarded."
"After dropping two games there was a certain amount of expectation and pressure on this game. I think for the most part they handled it well."
On outside back Noah Franke's performance...
"It was great to see that type of performance from Noah [Franke]. He had some moments earlier in the season and he's a lively player. I thought he defended well tonight for the most part as well."
Midfielder Ben Fitzpatrick…
On his first game…
“It was my first time being rostered this game. Warming up on the sideline, I wasn’t sure if I was going to get in, but if I did I knew I needed to prove myself.”
On his job…
“My job coming in with about 15 minutes left was to work my tail off. Christiano and Noah on the flanks were running their outside backs ramped. I knew if I just kept getting some runs in behind, a player like Kenny with his quality is going to play me the ball.”
On the last two losses…
“The past two games have been tough for us. The guys were pretty upset knowing that we have only lost three games all year and that two of them came in a row. We knew we needed to come out and get three points tonight.”
Forward Neco Brett
On getting back on the score sheet…
“We needed this win, and I was the only forward up top. It was extremely important to get back on the scoring sheet.”
On getting the extra boost…
“As a player, you always want your coach to believe in you especially when you aren’t doing so well. Coach believed in me, and that is really important for me. It gave me the extra boost.”
On the last two practices…
“Everyone comes in knowing it’s business time because we lost two games straight. There weren’t many guys smiling. Everyone came in working really hard.”