Pittsburgh Riverhounds fell to the Wilmington Hammerheads 4-3 in their home opener before a standing room, sellout crowd at Highmark Stadium on Saturday night.
The Riverhounds trailed 2-0 at the half, and looked to the familiar combination of Jose Angulo and Matt Dallman cut the lead in half in the 55th minute and send the match into a wild, back and forth affair.
Angulo converted on Dallman’s corner kick with a header for his 2nd goal of the season, cutting the lead to 2-1.
Wilmington responded almost immediately, as David Ochoa scored on a header on a free kick from Steven Miller in the 57th minute.
The Riverhounds continued to mount pressure, and after a few more close chances, would cut the lead to 3-2, as Collins John knocked a loose ball past Hammerheads goalkeeper Quillan Roberts.
Again, with the crowd back into the match, Wilmington would strike again. After a foul just inside the left side of the box, Ochoa calmly sent a penalty kick past Riverhounds goalkeeper Greg Blum for the 4-2 lead.
The Riverhounds kept coming.
In the 85th minute, as late sub, Kevin Kerr put in a one-time, left footed shot from just on the edge of the box that set up an exciting finish.
In the 90th minute, on another corner from Dallman, the ball sailed just past Angulo who was unmarked on the far post.
A minute later, Danny Earls made a nice run up the left side, passed it off to Joseph Ngwenya, who put it past Roberts.
As the Riverhounds and fans celebrated, it was quickly waved off by the officials, and the Hammerheads would escape Pittsburgh with 3 points.
The first half started out with each team exchanging long passes in the air, and possession.
Wilmington capitalized first, in the 26th minute, as Steven Miller took advantage of a lot of space from 21 yards, and sent a strike past Riverhounds goalkeeper Greg Blum.
The Riverhounds had a couple of nice chances, first coming from the right side, as Matt Dallman sent a ball right to Jose Angulo in the 15th minute that was broken up by a couple of Hammerheads defenders. The ball deflected out to Collins John who sent a one-time shot that was punched out by Hammerheads goalkeeper Quillan Roberts.
The Riverhounds drew a number of fouls near their attacking third in the first half. Each time, Dallman couldn’t convert. His best chance came in the 30th minute, from just out side the box from the left side he grazed the top of the crossbar.
In the 35th minute, Joseph Odobai sent a nice ball over the top to Angulo, who’s header was cleared away nicely by Roberts.
In the 39th minute Riverhounds Andrew Marshall was called for a handball just outside of the box, setting up Daniel Lovitz, for a free kick from 22 yards.
Lovitz made the most of his chance, with a bending shot that found the upper right corner of the goal, to give the Hammerheads a commanding 2-0 lead going into the half.