The Pittsburgh Riverhounds notched another dramatic win against RWB Adria in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, needing extra time to defeat the Chicago-based side 3-2 at Highmark Stadium on Wednesday night.
Jhonny Arteaga’s goal in the second overtime was the difference, as the Riverhounds now advance to the fourth round, where they will take on the Chicago Fire on June 18.
“It’s the kind of win that can bring everyone back together. This team’s been through a lot, but it was awesome,” said Niko Katic, Riverhounds Interim Head Coach.
As the teams battled into extra time, the Riverhounds finally got the go-ahead goal, thanks to nice pass from Collins John, from the top of the penalty box, he laid a ball to his left to Arteaga, who had plenty of room to finish.
“There’s been a lot of changes for us the past week or so, and this is something that will give us a lot of confidence going forward.”
For the second consecutive year, the Riverhounds were taken in U.S. Open Cup match, to the limit by a hard-fought effort from RWB Adria, this time trailing late in the second half.
“They are a superior technical team, they are all good players and they gave us a valiant effort,” said Katic.
With the match tied 1-1 as the second half started, after Katic inserted Jose Angulo into the match. The Riverhounds could not capitalize on a few quality chances including a nice run down the left side by Angulo, who missed his shot wide in the 60th minute.
Adria stunned the home crowd in the 62nd minute. Taylor Bond deflected a free kick as numerous players from both sides converged on the ball played toward the far post, and the 2014 U.S. Amateur Cup Champions took a 2-1 lead.
Katic responded by bringing in Jhonny Arteaga and Mike Seth into the match in the over the course of the next 10 minutes, and the Riverhounds began to assert themselves — mounting numerous chances.
“We gave up two goals. But who cares, we had to move on. We never stopped fighting. And that’s what we have to do,” Katic said.
In the 80th minute, they finally drew even thanks to a nice service from the right side from Matt Dallman. Angulo was able to get a head on the ball, and sending back to Collins John who finished with a right footed volley past RWB Ardria goalkeeper Igor Dimov.
While the Riverhounds were getting a lot of shots, it was a bit of an erratic half for both teams in the first half.
The Riverhounds took the lead in the 39th minute, as Danny Earls scored his first goal of the year.
It started as Matt Dallman played a ball to Rob Vincent in stride along the right side. Vincent delivered a low cross through the top of the penalty area. John let the ball through his legs, allowing an unmarked Earls to get a one-time, left-footed shot past a diving RWB Adria goalkeeper Igor Dimov.
Earls, who has played the most minutes of any player on the Hounds roster this season, continued his tireless work rate throughout the match, setting up dangerous crosses and drawing fouls, drawing raves from his coach.
“He was unbelievable tonight. That’s why he’s our co-captain. He’s going to keep flourishing to another level, and I see him really helping us going forward,” said Katic.
RWB Adria responded a few minutes later, in the 44th minute, as Christian Dragoi drew a pair of Riverhounds defenders as he dribbled toward the left side, then played the ball back to the middle to Derek Huffman. With plenty of space, from 15 yards, Huffman drilled it into the goal for the equalizer.
The Riverhounds took 10 shots in the first half, but Dimov only had to make 2 saves in the first half. The home side also had the edge in corner kicks in the first half, 4-1.
By the end of the full 120 minutes of play, the Riverhounds outshot RWB Adria 27-6, as Dimov had to make 9 saves. Hounds goalkeeper Hunter Gilstrap only needed to made one save all night. The Hounds also had the edge in corner kicks (12-5).
Katic’s starting line up included: Hunter Gilstrap (GK), Brian Fekete, Sterling Flunder, Andrew Marshall, Rob Vincent, Anthony Obodai, Alfonso Motagalvan, Earls, Seth C’deBaca, Dallman, and John.
Katic sees this as a turning point for the Riverhounds as they now seek their first win in USL PRO League competition.
“Hopefully this will carry over for us in our next game, and for the rest of the season.”
The Riverhounds return to USL PRO League competition against in-state rivals, Harrisburg City Islanders at Highmark Stadium on Sunday, June 1, with a 6 p.m. kickoff.