Friday, May 18, 2012
PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Riverhounds and the Richmond Kickers finish tied, 1-1, on Friday night at Chartiers Valley Stadium. The Riverhounds' Dawyne ‘Ricky’ Smith tallied his first professional goal in the 45th minute, while the Kickers' Matt Delicate recorded his second goal in as many games in the 71st minute to earn the Kickers a point, and their fourth consecutive draw.
The game opened in dramatic style as both sides received quality opportunities in the first five minutes. The Kickers (1-2-4) pressed forward quickly and nearly caught the Riverhounds (2-5-2) out of position when Luke Vercollone’s service found the foot of Edson Elcock deep inside the Riverhounds' penalty area. Elcock’s redirection went just wide of the goal to deny the Kickers the early lead in the third minute.
Transitioning quickly through the midfield, the Riverhounds nearly converted the game’s first goal one minute later. Rich Costanzo played a diagonal ball to Stefan Lundberg on the right flank. Turning his marker inside out, Lundberg found Shintaro Harada at the edge of the Kickers penalty area. Taking a quick volley with his left foot, Harada beat Kickers goalkeeper Ronnie Pascale, but was denied the opening goal by the post.
The game’s pace settled down for the remainder of the half with both sides battling for possession in the middle of the filed. The Riverhounds looked to combine and attack with numbers while the Kickers played more directly by linking play through Delicate.
But the Riverhounds grabbed the lead with less than a minute to play in the first half. Changing the point of attack, Matt Kassel found Anthony Calvano, releasing the full back down the right sideline. Looking up the field, Calvano saw Smith isolated with his marker, and he slotted a ball through to the near post. Smith fought off his marker and struck a hard, high shot past Pascale to put the Riverhounds up at the break.
After the intermission the pace of the game increased for both sides, with quick counter-attacks and direct play ruling the play. The Riverhounds and Kickers would exchange an equal number of opportunities to score in the first 20 minutes after the break, but neither side would reach the back of the net.
That changed in the 71st minute, as the Kickers would capitalize on a mistake by the Riverhounds. Vercollone delivered a long ball over the top of the Riverhounds' defense. Running on to the ball in traffic, Niko Katic headed a ball back for goalkeeper Hunter Gilstrap, but a collision occurred between Gilstrap and Richmond's David Bulow, allowing the ball to bounce free for Delicate. Wasting no time, Delicate headed the ball into the back of the net to tie the game.
The Riverhounds continued to push forward and nearly earned the game-winner in the 90th minute. A combination between Smith and Darren Amoo at the edge of the Kickers' penalty area provided Amoo with enough space to deliver a dangerous cross in front of the goal. Slashing through the box, Kassel redirected Amoo’s cross towards goal, but his shot trickled just wide of the goal, leaving the game to finish tied.
The Riverhounds and Kickers return to action on Tuesday for the second round of the U.S. Open Cup. The Riverhounds will host the Michigan Bucks of the PDL at Chartiers Valley Stadium while the Kickers will travel to face the Aegean Hawks of the USASA at the Dulles Sportsplex. Both games are scheduled for a 7 p.m. kickoff.