Despite a sparkling return of its leading scorer from a year ago, Rob Vincent, the Pittsburgh Riverhounds could not overcome defensive lapses, losing to Charleston Battery 2-1 at Highmark Stadium on Saturday.
Back on a one-game loan from Major League Soccer’s DC United, Vincent gave the Hounds an instant lift early in the second half as they were trailing. The Liverpool, England native sporting the number 66 in his one-game appearance, sent a low, right-footed shot from 32 yards that skimmed through the box and into the left side of goal past Alexander Tambakis.
Here’s the goal:
After the game, Vincent shared that he was excited to be back — and get a full 90 minutes in – even in a losing effort for a team and place that means a lot to him.
Despite Vincent’s goal, and a re-energized team effort in the 2nd half — Head Coach Dave Brandt’s team continued to miss golden opportunities to find the back of the net despite outshooting the Battery and controlling possession against a Charleston side that was content to stay organized in the back and midfield.
The Battery’s strategy worked — as they capitalized in the first half on a pair of counters.
First, O’Brian Woodbine made a nice move on the right side — as he nutmegged Hounds defender Jordan Murrell to get into the box, then Murrell took him down from behind to set up a penalty that Woodbine drilled past Mauricio Vargas.
Then, on a free kick by Charleston into the box, as the ball bounced around in front of the six yard box, and the Riverhounds failed to clear the ball, the Battery’s Taylor Mueller sent a volley into the back of the net for the 2-0 lead in the 42nd minute.
“Two bad defensive mistakes,” said Brandt.
“No doubt about that — and five point blank chances that we missed. That’s the difficult thing is that we played well — did some good things — but were trailing by two goals.”
At the center of many of the near goals for the Hounds was forward Corey Hertzog who missed a few quality looks in and around the box.
“We are in a tough spot,” said Hertzog.
“We’ve only won one game, and confidence in the locker room isn’t what it should be. But tonight we played our best soccer all year. If we can play like this — and make the most of our chances — it will be a different story.”
For the Riverhounds (1-5-3, 6 points), they have not beaten long-time league foe Charleston since 2011, as they are 1-6-5 in the last 12 games.
Next up, the Hounds will travel to another long-time league rival, Richmond Kickers, who posted a 1-1 draw vs FC Cincinnati on Saturday.
RIVERHOUNDS STARTING XI
Mauricio Vargas (G)
Jordan Murrell, Willie Hunt, Sergio Campbell, Drew Russell
Rob Vincent, Mike Green, Lebo Moloto (DuWayne Ewart), Steven Okai (Zak Boggs)
Kevin Kerr, Corey Hertzog
I’ll have another look back at this one — with “#PGHvCHS: What We Learned” in the next 24 hours.