SAINT LOUIS FC 2 PITTSBURGH RIVERHOUNDS 1
Jose Angulo has already racked up a number of goals in his career at Highmark Stadium, and on Wednesday night, he added to that total to lead his new team, Saint Louis FC to a 2-1 win over the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.
It was a fairly even first half with each team getting two very different tallies.
The Hounds were opportunistic in the early moments of the contest, taking advantage of an awful clearance by Saint Louis FC goalkeeper Deuaoa Gorrick was played mistakenly to Key Banjo who was 28 yards from goal. The Hounds forward, making his first start, quickly dribbled the ball into the box and tucked a well-placed shot just inside the right post to give Pittsburgh an early 1-0 lead.
“I wasn’t expecting that, but the high-pressure worked,” said Banjo after the game.
It just came to my feet and I had to finish that because that’s early. We have to set the tone.”
While the Hounds did set the tone early, and appeared to be limiting chances for Saint Louis’ dangerous forwards with a solid defensive shape, they still weren’t able to corral Angulo and his fellow forward Christian Volesky entirely.
In fact, all it would take would be one play for each to make a difference in the game.
In the 30th minute, surrounded in the box by a bunch of Hounds defenders, Angulo, like he did so many times at Highmark Stadium in 2013 and 2014, found enough space to turn around and find an opening to beat goalkeeper Keasel Broome.
“I have a saying, I think the goals at Highmark (Stadium) are always bigger,” chuckled a smiling Angulo after the match.
“I don’t know why, it seems that way though.”
Riverhounds head coach Dave Brandt knew containing Angulo would be difficult, but also, giving him enough room to maneuver proved to be costly.
“The first goal, we gave Angulo too much time, for sure,” said Brandt.
Following Angulo’s splendid effort, the Hounds responded with a few quality chances, but this time Gorrick was up to the task.
Late in the first half, Banjo made a nice move to find space on the right side, sent a shot to the left that pinged off the post and Gorrick was able to grab.
Then, in the 47th minute, on a corner kick, defender Jamal Jack came flying into the center of the box and made great contact with a header that was in line to go in under the bar, but Gorrick made a terrific, quick-reaction save to keep the score level.
In addition to Angulo, in the 67th minute former Rochester Rhinos forward Volesky showed why he’s also been one of the best forwards in USL in recent years.
Somehow, Volesky beat two Hounds defenders to the ball to redirect a low, long pass into the center of the box from defender Wes Charpie, for the goal that proved to be the difference in the game.
Brandt again, reiterated that while he thought his defenders did a good job for much of the night, they had let downs against two dangerous scorers.
“We scouted them. We warned (our players) one’s left footed and one’s right footed. … I honestly thought we did a reasonably good job on them, but that sounds terrible to say because they each scored. We didn’t do the job.”
The Riverhounds (1-2-1, 4 points) would struggle to create quality scoring opportunities after that — and would come away again without a home win in three tries early in the season.
For Saint Louis (3-0-1, 10 points), it was an impressive road win in what was mostly a pretty even played match (STL had 55% of possession and teams were even in shots with nine apiece).
After the game I had a chance to catch up with Angulo, who made his return to Highmark Stadium after breakout seasons with the Hounds, when he was USL MVP (in 2013) and the team’s leading scorer, amassing 23 goals in 47 appearances.
With the defeat, the Hounds now look ahead to another tough road test in the Charlotte Independence (0-1-1) at 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 15. Be sure to check out our game preview — BREAKING DOWN THE HOUNDS on Friday night.
Due to mid-week game and limited time, the next edition of “WHAT WE LEARNED” will follow after the Hounds-Charlotte game, likely on Sunday.
GAME LINEUPS / SCORING SUMMARY & CAUTIONS
Riverhounds – Keasel Broome – Taylor Washington, Jamal Jack, Joe Greenspan, Jack Thompson– Victor Souto, Abuchi Obinwa (Michael Green 67’), Marshall Hollingsworth (Kenroy Howell 83’), Kevin Kerr – Kay Banjo, Corey Hertzog (Chevaughn Walsh 78’)
Subs not used: Trey Mitchell, Nick Thompson, Ben Fitzpatrick, Danny Earls
Saint Louis FC – Devala Gorrick – Wes Charpie, A.J. Cochran, Austin Ledbetter, Ryan Howe (Matt Sheldon 45’) – Mats Bjurman, Tyler David, Octavio Guzman, Dragon Stojkov – Jose Angulo (Seth Rudolph 82’), Christian Volesky (Max Alvarez 68’)
Subs not used: Jack Filla, Aedan Stanley, Konrad Plewa, Denis Ahmentovic
PGH – Kay Banjo 5’
STL – Jose Angulo 30’ (Wes Charpie)
STL – Christian Volesky 67’ (Wes Charpie)
STL – Ryan Howe 42’ (caution)