The Pittsburgh Riverhounds defeated the New York Red Bulls U23 3-1 in the second round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday at Highmark Stadium. The Open Cup is the country’s oldest ongoing soccer competition.
After a stagnant first half in which they controlled most of the play, and the match remained tied 1-1, the Riverhounds got a key goal from their dynamic duo of Matt Dallman and Jose Angulo to secure their first win of 2014.
The Riverhounds’ leading scorers from last season hooked up for the go-ahead goal in the 68th minute on a Dallman corner kick, as Angulo slashed through the penalty area to put a header past Red Bulls goalkeeper Evan Louro.
Angulo entered the match at the beginning of the second half, along with Joseph Ngweyna. It seemed to be just what the Riverhounds attack needed.
“They came on and changed the game for us in a positive way,” said Riverhounds coach Justin Evans.
As things began to open up, Rob Vincent sealed the win for the home side with a nice run in the 81st minute, with a nifty give-and-go with Ngwenya to beat Louro to provide the game’s final margin.
The Riverhounds capitalized in the 10th minute to take an early lead against the visiting side. Advancing down the left flank, midfielder Vincent delivered a pinpoint pass to Dallman on the right edge of the box. Dallman was able to head the ball back across the goalmouth toward the center of the box, where Kevin Kerr came through to finish with a header into the back of the net.
The lead didn’t hold up very long, as Riverhounds center back Andrew Marshall was called for a foul in the box, setting up a penalty kick. Red Bull defender Sean Sheridan converted on the chance, and the match was tied in the 12th minute.
The Riverhounds regained their composure, controlling things for the remainder of the first half, drawing numerous fouls, and setting seven corner kicks, but were unable to take advantage.
“It seemed like we were doing all the right things, getting to the end line,” Evans said. “Putting a lot of pressure on their back four. It was very positive. We were comfortably in control of the game.”
As the second half opened, the Riverhounds got the boost they needed.
“If you work hard, you are going to get a result,” said Angulo. “Nice to come in, get the goal, help the team. We played well in the second half. It was a good win.”
The USL Pro’s leading scorer a year ago, Angulo left the Riverhounds for a few weeks to be with his family as his father passed away. He returned to action against Orlando City on Friday, playing 70 minutes. With a full second half against the Red Bulls, he feels ready to help his team get on a roll.
“My dad always told me, be a magnet,” Angulo said. “Just get in there, and the ball’s going to find you.”
With a league game on Saturday, all of the Houston Dynamo field players and a few others were held out, but the Riverhounds’ starting 11 included a lot of experience: Mike Lisch (goalkeeper), Sterling Flunder, Mike Green, Andrew Marshall, Danny Earls, Rob Vincent, Alfonso Motagalvan, Kevin Kerr, Seth C’deBaca, Dallman, and Collins John.
The Riverhounds dominated in shots (13-5) and corner kicks (16-4), in eliminating the Red Bull U23 from the Open Cup. They will host the third round of the Open Cup next Wednesday, May 21, against the winner of RWB Adria/Michigan Bucks match. The Open Cup is the third-longest running open soccer tournament in the world; it’s open to all United States Soccer Federation-affiliated teams.
Up next for the Riverhounds will be an important USL Pro encounter with regional rival Rochester on Saturday night at Highmark Stadium, as they look to recover from a slow start to the season. Pittsburgh is 0-3-3 against league competition so far.
“We needed this one, to hopefully get us going,” Evans said.
“It’s huge for our confidence, for our players. To get guys in there and a positive result, it’s great.”
Game report courtesy of Pittsburgh Riverhounds.