PITTSBURGH (May 13, 2023) — Albert Dikwa scored twice to race out to the USL Championship scoring lead, and Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC picked up a 2-1 win over Birmingham Legion FC in a rematch of last season’s playoffs tonight at Highmark Stadium.
Dikwa opened the scoring in the 11th minute and headed in the game-winner for the Hounds (3-2-5) in the 70th minute to keep to team undefeated at home this season in front of a sellout crowd of 5,123. Matthew Corcoran, Birmingham’s 17-year-old academy product in the midfield, scored a free kick from 20 yards out in the 35th minute for the Legion (5-5-1).
The Hounds wasted little time opening the scoring, getting the game’s first goal for the fifth consecutive match — three league games and two in the U.S. Open Cup.
Danny Griffin swung a cross from the left side to the back post, where Kenardo Forbes struck a return pass behind the defense and across the top of the six-yard box for Dikwa to turn the ball into the net.
Two former Hounds appeared in the match for the Legion — Neco Brett and Tyler Pasher — but Brett’s return was cut short, as the Robert Morris product was replaced in the 28th minute due to injury.
The Legion found their goal shortly after, however, as Corcoran curled a free kick from the left side over the Hounds wall and into the open side of the net, leveling the score on the first of only two shots on goal for Birmingham.
The Hounds appeared to have gone back in front in the 63rd minute when Griffin headed in a cross served from the left side. The crowd’s celebration was cut short with Griffin already amongst the fans, as the goal was disallowed for a push by Griffin against Legion defender Jake Rufe.
Seven minutes later, Dikwa put in a goal that was a no-doubter. He deftly redirected the ball with a glancing header from a curling pass served in by Langston Blackstock, giving the first-year pro out of Clayton State (Ga.) his first career assist.
The Hounds bottled up the Legion for the final 20 minutes as they had done all game, limiting the second-place team in the Eastern Conference to four total shots and only six touches inside the Hounds’ penalty area for the entire match.
Heineken Man of the Match
Albert Dikwa’s torrid scoring run continued with the striker’s second straight two-goal game in league play. He now has five goals in the past three USL Championship matches, and his nine goals this season are just two off his career high of 11 set last year.
After jetting cross-country last week from California to Boston and back to Pittsburgh, the Hounds finally get to stay at home with another 7 p.m. Saturday league match coming on May 20, when the Las Vegas Lights (0-3-5) make their first visit to Highmark Stadium.
Riverhounds SC Lineup (5-4-1) — Jahmali Waite; DZ Harmon (Luke Biasi 65’), Arturo Ordóñez, Pat Hogan, Nate Dossantos, Langston Blackstock (Junior Etou 74’); Danny Griffin, Trevor Zwetsloot (Marc Ybarra 45’), Robbie Mertz (Edward Kizza 65’), Kenardo Forbes (Michael Deshields 84’); Albert Dikwa
Birmingham Legion FC (4-2-3-1) — Matt Van Oekel; Jacob Rufe (Gabriel Alves 76’), Moses Mensah (Collin Smith 76’), Alex Crongale, Ben Reveno; Matthew Corcoran, Mikey Lopez (Anderson Asiedu 45’); Tyler Pasher, Diba Nwegbo (Enzo Martinez 58’), Prosper Kasim; Neco Brett (Juan Agudelo 28’)
PIT — Albert Dikwa 11’ (Kenardo Forbes)
BHM — Matthew Corcoran 35’
PIT — Albert Dikwa 70’ (Langston Blackstock)
PIT — Nate Dossantos 53’ (caution – dissent)
BHM — Matthew Corcoran 63’ (caution – tactical foul)
BHM — Moses Mensah 69’ (caution – reckless foul)
BHM — Gabriel Alves 83’ (caution – reckless foul)
BHM — Ben Reveno 90+3’ (caution – reckless foul)