USL: Kerr, Vincent Power Pittsburgh Riverhounds To Cathartic Opening-Night Win


Riverhounds midfielder Kevin Kerr celebrates his first of three goals in Pittsburgh’s season-opening 5-2 victory over Harrisburg at Highmark Stadium. (Photo:

SOUTH SIDE – A hat trick by Kevin Kerr and two goals from Rob Vincent fired the Pittsburgh Riverhounds to a 5-2 win over the Harrisburg City Islanders Saturday in a blistering start to the USL season on a frigid Saturday night at Highmark Stadium.

The victory put Pittsburgh in the win column much quicker than in recent seasons. The Hounds started last season with a 10-game winless streak (0-6-4) and they were 0-5-4 to start the 2013 campaign.

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It was a breakthrough in more ways than one for the Riverhounds, as they scored five goals just once all of last season, when they missed the playoffs with a 9-14-5 record. Pittsburgh never netted more than three goals in any of its 14 home matches in 2014.

Vincent got the Hounds off to a fast start on five minutes to continue his impressive goal-scoring form from the preseason, when he had a team-leading six. Kerr doubled the lead six minutes later from the Englishman’s assist. Harrisburg narrowed the deficit before halftime before being blown away by the Riverhounds’ attack in the second half.

“Our game plan was to come out and press hard and we did that really well for 15 minutes,” said Riverhounds head coach Mark Steffens, who won in his Pittsburgh debut after 18 seasons with the Charlotte Eagles. “We dropped off the press after 15 minutes and fell apart.

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  • “At halftime we told them we had to put the press back on and the guys did a great job with it in the second half.”

    This was the Hounds’ first win against their in-state rivals since 2013, as they went 0-1-2 against Harrisburg last season. The two teams will meet four times in all this year, with the Keystone Derby Cup going to the winner of the season series.

    Following Pittsburgh’s early two-goal surge, Philadelphia Union loanee Zach Pfeffer pulled one back for the visitors on 22 minutes when he sneaked behind the Hounds defense to finish low underneath goalkeeper Ryan Thompson.

    Kerr put an emphatic stamp on Pittsburgh’s impressive first outing under Steffens by completing his hat trick in the second half. The Scotsman sent a missile into the back of the net from deep outside the box on 52 minutes. He then rounded Noble once again on 77 minutes after a through ball from Vincent.

    Harrisburg tallied a late consolation goal when Garret Pettis converted a penalty on 86 minutes after being felled by Hounds defender Fejiro Okiomah.

    Vincent completed the scoring in stoppage time with another fantastic goal, finding the far post from 25 yards while his momentum took him away from goal.

    The Riverhounds remain at Highmark Stadium for their next USL contest against the Rochester Rhinos next Saturday. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

    Part of this story provided by the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.

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