July 31, 2021 (Pittsburgh) - Hartford Athletic took an early lead in the first half but fell short to Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC 3-1 at Highmark Stadium in Pittsburgh on Saturday night. Two second-half goals by former Athletic forward Alex Dixon and a late tally by substitute Louis Perez propelled the Riverhounds to sole possession of first place in the USL Championship’s Eastern Atlantic Division.
Pittsburgh started off the game blazing with multiple chances in the opening 10 minutes, but Hartford was able to fend off their attack to keep the game level.
The Boys in Green were out-possessed for most of the night, but ultimately struck first on a composed left-footed strike from forward Derek Dodson who slotted it home past the Riverhounds goalkeeper Danny Vitiello. The break was started off of by a beautiful backheel pass from midfielder Jeciel Cedeño to forward Christian Gomez, who then delivered a lovely through ball to Dodson to take the early lead. The former Georgetown Hoya and Orlando City SC draftee has shined bright since donning the green and blue, with three goals in four appearances.
In a surging attempt to level the score in the 33’, Riverhounds midfielder Kenardo Forbes sent a ball into the box to Defender Mekiel Williams. His header was saved by Caldwell, but a rebound was struck by forward Albert Dikwa that was then stopped again by a lunging Caldwell to keep Pittsburgh off the score sheet. The Athletic goalkeeper was outstanding all night with many more acrobatic saves to keep Hartford in the game.
The Riverhounds got their equalizer early in the second half on a point blank finish in the 49' by an airborne Dixon. The ball was delivered on a cross from Williams.
Dixon later put the Hounds ahead in the 83’ of the contest, dribbling coast to coast up the field and hitting his try past Caldwell into the upper left corner to go up 2-1. The Riverhounds didn’t look back and took a commanding 3-1 advantage on a goal from Perez in the 88'.
Harry Watling and company look to bounce back quickly against The Miami FC on Wednesday, August 4th at Dillon Stadium as they still sit in striking distance of first place in the USL Championship’s Eastern Atlantic Division and right in the thick of the playoff picture.
Shots (On-Target): Hartford Athletic 5 (2) - 17 (8) Pittsburgh
Corners: Hartford Athletic 1-8 Pittsburgh
Fouls: Hartford Athletic 11-14 Pittsburgh
Offsides: Hartford Athletic 1-1 Pittsburgh
Possession: Hartford Athletic 0-0 Pittsburgh
Passing Accuracy: Hartford Athletic 37.2%-62.8% Pittsburgh
Saves: Hartford Athletic 5-1 Pittsburgh
26' - Dodson (Hartford)
49' - Dixon (Pittsburgh)
83' - Dixon (Pittsburgh)
88' - Perez (Pittsburgh)
36' - Tulu Yellow Card (Hartford)
81' - Ashitey Yellow Card (Hartford)
82' - Wiedt Yellow Card (Pittsburgh)
HARTFORD ATHLETIC STARTING LINEUP:
Caldwell (GK); Lara (DF); Boudadi (DF); Tulu (DF); Janjigian (DF); Gómez (MF); Rogers (MF); Cedeno (MF); Barrera (MF); Dodson (FW); Martinez (FW)
PITTSBURGH RIVERHOUNDS SC STARTING LINEUP:
Vitiello (GK); Williams (DF); Robinson (DF); Wiedt (DF); Dixon (MF); Rovira (MF); Griffin (MF); Velarde (MF); Cicerone (MF); Dikwa (FW); Forbes (FW)