PITTSBURGH (Feb. 24, 2024) — The Pittsburgh Riverhounds got back into the win column behind goals from Robbie Mertz and Pat Hogan in a 2-0 preseason win over the University of Pittsburgh this afternoon at Highmark Stadium.
The Hounds (2-1-1 preseason) posted their second shutout in four preseason matches, with trialist goalkeeper Gabriel Perrotta working the first hour and Eric Dick finishing the final 30 minutes of the combined clean sheet.
Early chances in the match went the Hounds’ way, most notably a drive down the goal line in the 15th minute by Junior Etou that allowed him to set up Kenardo Forbes, but Forbes shot inside the box drifted wide of the net. The Panthers nearly hit the Hounds on the counter in the 24th minute, but Perrotta came off his line to make his toughest save of the day by standing tall at the top of the box.
The breakthrough came early in the second half, when Kazaiah Sterling — playing his first preseason action in Pittsburgh — broke in behind the left side of the defense. The forward waited as players arrived in the box before picking out Mertz at the back post, who finished with a well-struck shot in the 51st minute for his second goal of the preseason.
Mertz got things started on the Hounds’ second goal in the 65th minute, delivering a corner kick from the left side. Hogan made the near-post run and elevated to turn a glancing header past the goalkeeper, giving the center back his first of the preseason.
The Hounds had chances for a third goal, including another corner kick play from which Babacar Diene slammed the ball off the underside of the crossbar, but no goal was given, as the ball was ruled to have not completely crossed the goal line.
The match was the final one at home this preseason for the Hounds, who will bring preseason to a close next week by going on the road to face longtime rivals Louisville City FC at 1 p.m. on Friday, March 1. After that, all eyes turn toward the USL Championship opener, a 4 p.m. match on Saturday, March 9, at New Mexico United that will air live locally on KDKA+ and on national radio via SiriusXM Channel 157.