The Pittsburgh Riverhounds played up to and beyond their higher competition as a stoppage time strike by Rob Vincent sent them to a 1-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the third round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
Vincent broke the deadlock after receiving a pass from left-back Tyler Pasher and charging down the field. The Englishman expertly drove his shot home from 25 yards as it seemed that extra time would be required to separate the sides.
Pittsburgh’s victory means that the Hounds will host Major League Soccer franchise D.C. United at Highmark Stadium on June 17 in the fourth round.
“It will be a great experience facing an MLS side,” Vincent said. “Everyone wants to play against the best opposition and hopefully we can win again.”
The Hounds looked the better team throughout the second half. They put together a second clean sheet in eight days with back-up goalkeeper Ryan Hulings guarding the net.
Tampa Bay enjoyed most of the early possession. The Rowdies came close to opening the scoring on 18 minutes when Stephen Okai cleared Stefan Antonijevic’s header off the goal line. Hulings made a reflex save to stop a rebound from Martin Nunez.
The Hounds began to dictate play midway through the first half. South Africa playmaker Lebo Moloto danced his way through Tampa’s defense leading to a couple of corners.
Anthony Arena almost capitalized off one set piece on 38 minutes. Kevin Kerr struck the Rowdies goal post two minutes later from Miro Cabrilo’s cutback.
Pittsburgh tested Matt Pickens’ goal frequently in the second half before Vincent finally converted.
“We were just organized all the way through tonight,” Vincent said. “We got our first clean sheet last week and we’re trying to build on that.
“I’m glad we could win it and the end and not go to extra time.”
The Hounds return to action Saturday night when the Harrisburg City Islanders come to Highmark Stadium for the second installment of this season’s Keystone Derby Cup series. Kevin Kerr’s hat trick helped the Hounds to a 5-2 win in the first meeting on March 28.