In a battle of talented Pennsylvania teams, it was Pittsburgh defeating Bethlehem last night.
What happens when an immovable object meets an unstoppable force? That was the answer both Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC and Bethlehem Steel FC were trying to find when they met on the pitch Sunday evening. In the end, the immovable Riverhounds tallied their third consecutive victory, snapping Bethlehem’s winning streak.
For most of the first half, the game played out as expected with both teams feeling each other out and playing outstanding on-ball pressure and defense. After the first fifteen minutes, the Riverhounds were able to start an attack when Jordan Dover had a point-blank shot blocked. From then on, the Riverhounds took the command of the first half by forcing Bethlehem to get through a congested midfield and play long hopeful passes. Pittsburgh allowed zero shots. Meanwhile, Neco Brett squeezed a shot past the keeper on the near side of the net, putting the Riverhounds up 1-0. Towards the end of the half, Christiano Francois came down awkwardly from a challenge, hitting his head off of a sign on the sideline. He was able to recover after a few minutes, but this would foreshadow more serious events to come.
Bethlehem started the second half with aggression, putting the Riverhounds a little out of sorts. After an easy save from a Francois shot on goal, Bethlehem took advantage of a marking mismatch and Chris Nanco tied the game 1-1. Although there were a few chances by the Riverhounds, the half was dominated by Bethlehem and their great breakout attacks. In the 70th minute, Steel FC were making another one of these runs when Riverhounds keeper Dan Lynd aggressively charged off his line to make a save. However, in the process of making the save, Lynd’s face hit on the players knee, causing Lynd to come out of the game (As of this writing, there is no word on the extent of his injury). Roughly ten minutes later, Francois found Brett who scored his 13th goal of the season, giving the Riverhounds a 2-1 lead and the win.
Michael Kirk’s substitute appearance was his first of the season and first of his professional career.
Neco Brett’s two tallies now have him tied at the top of the race for the USL’s Golden Boot.
Next Time Out:
Riverhounds host Charlotte Independence on Saturday, August 18th.
Bethlehem Steel FC travel to Toronto FC II on Thursday, August 16th.