Former Robert Morris standout Neco Brett continues to shine in Portland.
This time he helped complete the first 3-goal deficit and come-from-behind victory in the USL since the Riverhounds pulled off the “Miracle on the Mon” last May 30, as Portland Timbers 2 erased a 3-0 LA Galaxy II lead, for a 4-3 win late Saturday.
With the game tied in stoppage time, Brett’s game winner came on a counter-attacking play that began when midfielder Victor Arboleda dispossessed a Galaxy II defender at midfield.
Arboleda passed to Villyan Bijev at the top of the 18-yard box, with Bijev then playing in Brett on the left wing. Brett took on his defender, cutting back onto his right-foot and blasted his shot off the palms of the goalkeeper and into the top right corner of the net to score his fifth goal of the season for T2.
MOLOTO, GREEN TO MISS MONTREAL TRIP
The Pittsburgh Riverhounds, coming off a 2-1 loss to Louisville City on Friday, in which they gave up two second half George Davis IV goals, and saw two players booked, Lebo Moloto (with his fifth yellow card of the season) and Mike Green (in a controversial red card in the 69th minute after making contact with Chandler Hoffman in the box as the last defender).
Green contributed the assist on the Hounds lone goal on Friday. After receiving a nice pass to the right side from Danny Earls, took a nice first-touch to control the ball, took it to the end line and delivered a low, darting ball right to the center of the goal box for Corey Hertzog to finish to give the Hounds a 1-0 lead in the 27th minute.
Moloto has continued to be featured regularly in the Hounds lineup through the team’s struggles, and his production has been down from last year when he had six goals and seven assists. Moloto has only one goal and is without an assist in 2016.
Maybe the mid-week time off will help him and he’ll be fresh for Saturday’s encounter with Bethlehem Steel FC.
WHO WILL REPLACE MOLOTO AND GREEN?
Without Moloto and Green, the Riverhounds lose two regular starters in a game that can essentially help keep them from finishing at the very bottom of the league standings with a result of any kind.
Montreal has only seven points, having lost their last seven matches. Their last win was a 3-2 triumph at Harrisburg. The Hounds beat Montreal 2-1, at Highmark Stadium in early June.
Look for the possibility of Canadian Jordan Murrell getting a start at outside back in place of Gteen — or the Hounds going with Willie Hunt and Marshall Hollingsworth on the outside, while Ryan Adeleye and Sergio Campbell pair up in the middle.
Zak Boggs has also been thrown into duty on the back line the past two games — and if you didn’t know, Boggs played his share on defense during his early pro years with the New England Revolution (from 2010-12).
While the Hounds seem a bit thin in terms of quality depth, they did pick up a pair of new players last week, Melvin Snoh and Pittsburgh native Anthony Virgara.
Neither were featured or available in the Hounds line-up on Friday.
Midfielder Alex Harlley remains another player who has not seen a lot of time and has only played five matches with a total of 86 minutes. He was finally available as a sub on Friday, but was not featured. Maybe he will see some time on Wednesday as a possible replacement for Moloto on the flank.
In addition, when asked about the first three games from newest addition, Costa Rican forward Alejandro Aguilar, Brandt said that “we need to get more out of him” and was hopeful that he can contribute to the attack more. Aguilar has one assist, and one shot on goal in three games.
THEY SAID IT
Riverhounds Head Coach Dave Brandt kept a positive spin on the team’s 2-1 loss to Louisville City on Friday.
“I’m proud of the guys’ effort. We were unfortunate in a couple of ways. We battled well. We started the game really well. Right now that’s a little bit at our capacity, and our tendency not to be able to keep our foot on the gas.”
Team captain Kevin Kerr also had positive view after the loss.
“The boys did well. I’ve been up here a lot after the games, and I haven’t always been able to say that we deserve something from the game. The few times, especially at the start of the year where we got beat,” said Kerr.
“Today, I think we deserved something. The performance was there, the opportunities were there, but over in the end.”