PITTSBURGH (Oct. 21, 2023) — Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC had its outstanding 2023 season come to an end, as Detroit City FC scored in the second half for the game’s only goal to topple the Hounds, 1-0, in the USL Championship Eastern Conference Quarterfinals tonight at Highmark Stadium.
Dominic Gasso scored in the 78th minute for Detroit, who will travel to face Louisville City FC next weekend in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
It was only the second time the Hounds lost at Highmark Stadium in 20 home matches in 2023, a year in which they won the USL Championship Players’ Shield with the league’s best record and advanced to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup.
The Hounds were the more adventurous team going forward for much of the match, holding 57 percent of possession and finishing with a 13-3 edge in total shots.
The game’s first golden opportunity fell to leading scorer Albert Dikwa, who nearly pounced on a poor clearance by the Detroit defense inside the goal box, only to have his effort blocked away by a last-ditch sliding tackle in the 17th minute.
Edward Kizza had another good chance in the 24th minute after Kenardo Forbes played a gentle pass through traffic to send him toward goal. Once again, Detroit’s defenders recovered in time to block away the chance. In the end, neither team recorded a shot on goal in the opening 45 minutes, with Detroit logging only one shot overall.
The second half began in chippy fashion, as players came together when Maxi Rodriguez put a challenge into Hounds goalkeeper Jahmali Waite in possession of the ball. Rodriguez and Dikwa were carded in the ensuing melee, but things quickly settled down.
Kizza again had an opportunity in transition after Dani Rovira — who began the counter with his tackle in the Hounds’ box — played a pass behind the defense. Kizza rounded Detroit goalie Nathan Steinwascher, but the keeper did well to force him too far wide to put his shot on goal.
Detroit broke through in the 78th minute from a play that began with a free kick in a wide position. The Hounds did well all night to clear Detroit crosses from the box, but on this play, Danny Griffin’s header made it only as far as Gasso, standing 25 yards from goal. The Detroit midfielder struck the ball with power back through traffic in the box, and the low shot flew between defenders and into the net.
The Hounds pushed forward late with two golden opportunities in stoppage time.
Steinwascher made the game’s most important play when Joe Farrell chipped a ball into the box and Dikwa rose to head it near the penalty spot. The Detroit goalie made a full-extension save to his left, pushing the ball out for a corner kick.
The Hounds got one final chance on a cross from Tola Showunmi, and JC Obrégon rose in traffic to win the header, but his shot lofted just over the bar.
Heineken Man of the Match
Kenardo Forbes was excellent in the middle of the park as always, and the Hounds captain was second on the team with 66 touches on the ball, delivered a game-high four crosses and connected on 14 of 17 passes in the attacking third of the field. He also won possession a team-leading 12 times in the match.
Riverhounds SC lineup (5-3-2) — Jahmali Waite; Junior Etou (Langston Blackstock 83’), Nate Dossantos (Luke Biasi 83’), Joe Farrell, Arturo Ordóñez, Dani Rovira (Tola Showunmi 72’); Kenardo Forbes (JC Obrégon 89’), Danny Griffin, Marc Ybarra; Edward Kizza (Robbie Mertz 72’), Albert Dikwa
Detroit City FC lineup (4-2-3-1) — Nathan Steinwascher; Devon Amoo-Mensah, Stephen Carroll, Matt Lewis, Michael Bryant; Dominic Gasso, Maxi Rodriguez (Jalen Robinson 89’); Rhys Williams, Abdoulaye Diop, Connor Rutz; Ben Morris (Yazeed Matthews 75’)
DET — Dominic Gasso 78’
DET — Matt Lewis 4’ (caution – tactical foul)
PIT — Nate Dossantos 15’ (caution – tactical foul)
DET — Devon Amoo-Mensah 38’ (caution – reckless foul)
DET — Maxi Rodriguez 52’ (caution – unsporting behavior)
PIT — Albert Dikwa 52’ (caution – unsporting behavior)