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 at Highmark Stadium.
The victory gave the Riverhounds the early advantage in the challenge for the Keystone Derby Cup between the in-state rivals and puts the Riverhounds in the win column much quicker than in recent seasons.
Vincent got the Hounds off to a fast start on five minutes to continue his impressive goalscoring form from the preseason. Kerr doubled the lead six minutes later from the Englishman’s assist. Harrisburg narrowed the deficit before half-time 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. “We dropped off the press after 15 minutes and fell apart.
“At half-time we told them we had to put the press back on and the guys did a great job with it in the second half.”
Philadelphia Union loanee Zach Pfeffer pulled one back for the visitors on 22 minutes when he snuck 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. Kick off is at 7 p.m.