LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Oct. 29, 2022) — Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC saw its season come to a close after falling on penalty kicks top-seeded Louisville City FC, 5-4, after playing to a 2-2 draw in the USL Championship Eastern Conference Semifinals tonight at Lynn Family Stadium.
Russell Cicerone scored twice in regulation time to give the Hounds a two-goal lead, but Louisville pushed back into the game with two goals in three minutes from Manny Perez and Cameron Lancaster to force extra time and, eventually, a shootout.
It is the third time in the past four seasons the Hounds have been knocked out of the playoffs by Louisville — two of those in games that lasted beyond regulation. The Hounds finish the season with a 16-9-11 record in USL matches, their fifth straight winning season and fifth straight in the playoffs.
The Hounds shocked the home crowd by taking the lead on their first shot on goal in the 14th minute.
Robbie Mertz got free down the right flank and struck a cross that was just too high for his teammates and the defenders in front of the center of goal. That allowed the ball to drop for Cicerone at the far post, and the Hounds’ leading scorer took a touch before slotting home a shot inside the near post.
Most of Louisville’s threats in the first half came from corner kicks, and the Hounds defended well enough to hold the hosts without a shot on goal in the first 45.
Things looked even better for the Hounds when Kenardo Forbes slotted a pass through the Louisville back line to send Cicerone in on a 47th-minute breakaway, and Cicerone finished the chance with a calm finish for his 15th goal of the season. With the goal, Cicerone joined Neco Brett as the only Hounds players to have consecutive 15-goal seasons (all competitions), while Forbes got his career-best 11th assist of the year.
The Hounds continued to create chances on the break while focusing on protecting the lead, and Albert Dikwa nearly added another goal on the break in the 76th minute, only to be denied by Louisville goalie Danny Faundez. While Louisville finished the match with 66 percent of possession, shots on goal was only 7-6 in the hosts’ favor, and even the advanced xG metric (expected goals finished 1.62-1.56 Louisville.
Things went sour for the Hounds in the 83th minute on a Louisville free kick. Jahmali Waite made an excellent stop on Josh Wynder — one of four saves in the match for Waite — but he couldn’t stop Perez’s rebound finish.
Barely a minute later, Shane Wiedt was whistled for a foul challenging Elijah Wynder in the box, and Lancaster converted the kick to tie the match in the 85th minute.
The extra time periods went end-to-end, and Waite kept things level with an outstanding stop on Sean Totsch‘s volley from a corner kick in the 98th minute.
A minute later, Edward Kizza, the hero of the conference quarterfinals, had the ball in the net for another extra time goal and a potential winner, but a dubious offside flag negated the strike.
With their winning goal disallowed, the Hounds headed to penalties for a second straight game, and the decisive play was made by Faundez on the Hounds’ first kick, as he dove to his left to make a strong stop on Danny Griffin. Neither team missed for the remainder of kicks from the mark, and the Hounds’ season ended when Carlos Moguel Jr. converted for Louisville.
Hounds Man of the Match
Russell Cicerone completed his second year as a difference-maker for the Hounds with a two-goal contest, and he also finished the match with a team-best 88 percent passing completion rate.
Riverhounds SC lineup (5-2-3) — Jahmali Waite; Dani Rovira (Angelo Kelly 58′), Mekeil Williams (Jelani Peters 58′), Arturo Ordóñez, Shane Wiedt (Edward Kizza 91′), Alex Dixon (Toby Sims 82′); Kenardo Forbes, Danny Griffin; Russell Cicerone (Marc Ybarra 82′), Robbie Mertz (William Eyang 91′), Albert Dikwa
Louisville City FC lineup (3-4-3) — Danny Faundez; Josh Wynder, Wes Charpie (Corben Bone 46′), Sean Totsch; Amadou Dia, Paolo DelPiccolo (Eli Wynder 69′), Tyler Gibson (Carlos Moguel Jr. 69′), Manny Perez; Enoch Mushagalusa, Wilson Harris (Cameron Lancaster 69′, Oscar Jimenez 91′), Ray Serrano (Napo Matoso 69′)
PIT — Russell Cicerone 14′ (Robbie Mertz)
PIT — Russell Cicerone 47′ (Kenardo Forbes)
LOU — Manny Perez 83′
LOU — Cameron Lancaster 85′ (penalty)
PIT — Dani Rovira 45+2′ (caution – persistent infringement)
PIT — Mekeil Williams 54′ (caution – unsporting behavior)
LOU — Josh Wynder 62′ (caution – unsporting behavior)
PIT — Shane Wiedt 84′ (caution – unsporting behavior)
LOU — Manny Perez 88′ (caution – unsporting behavior)
PIT — Albert Dikwa 90+4′ (caution – unsporting behavior)
PIT — Russell Cicerone 103′ (caution – dissent)
LOU — Amadou Dia 115′ (caution – unsporting behavior)
Kicks from the Penalty Mark summary
LOU (Goalkeeper: Faundez) — Totsch, J.Wynder, Jimenez, Matsoso, Moguel Jr.
PIT (Goalkeeper: Waite) — Griffin (miss), Forbes, Sims, Dikwa