The Pittsburgh Riverhounds fell to a 2-1 home loss against Louisville City F.C. Saturday night at Highmark Stadium when three points would have strengthened the Hounds’ chances of hosting a USL Eastern Conference playoff game.
Former Hound Matt Fondy scored the decisive goal on 66 minutes when he converted Bryan Burke’s low cross with a clinical flick of the outside of the boot.
Louisville killed off the game in the closing stages by stifling any Hounds’ attempts to build sustained pressure. Kevin Kerr came closest during a scramble in front of Scott Goodwin’s goal. Goodwin made the save and substitute Amara Soumah could not finish the rebound.
The loss drops Pittsburgh to a 7-7-4 record (25 points). Third-placed Louisville advances to a 9-3-5 record (32 points).
There were some shaky moments for the Hounds early in the game. Fejiro Okiomah was forced into committing a foul on Magnus Rasmussen right outside the penalty box on 15 minutes. The Danish forward navigated his well-spotted free kick around the Hounds’ wall to put Louisville ahead.
Pittsburgh responded quickly to equalize five minutes later. Rob Vincent delivered an inswinging free kick perfectly onto Kerr’s head for the Scotsman to net his eighth league goal of the year.
Both teams had several chances to gain a halftime lead. Drew Russell fired a sizzling shot that went just wide of the near post as he continued his search for a first Hounds goal.
Fondy squandered two golden opportunities to put the visitors ahead late in the first half. He scooped Burke’s cross over the bar on 43 minutes before rising to head a corner kick narrowly past the far post.
Anthony Arena made a superb block to prevent Fondy on the hour mark after making a quick recovery when the Californian looked to have stepped inside to create a clear look at goal.
FIFA Women’s World Cup winner Meghan Klingenberg was in attendance as the Hounds’ special guest for the evening. The Gibsonia, Pa. native addressed fans in the Club Level suite prior to kickoff before signing autographs and posing for photographs.
The “Push for the Playoffs” continues next Sunday night when the Hounds travel to Harrisburg for the third of four instate clashes with the City Islanders this season. Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m.
Pittsburgh won both previous encounters at Highmark Stadium including the dramatic 6-5 comeback win on May 30.
A tie will be enough for the Hounds to clinch the Keystone Derby Cup in the trophy’s inaugural season.