Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC clinched first place in the Eastern Conference thanks to a 90th minute winner from Mark Forrest on a late set-piece against Birmingham Legion FC. The Hounds, who needed a win against Birmingham to win the Eastern Conference, will face the lowest-advancing seed in the Championship Playoffs next Saturday, while Legion FC will travel to face North Carolina FC in the Play-In Round on Wednesday night.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC left it late but secured a 1-0 victory over Birmingham Legion FC to secure first place in the Eastern Conference heading into the Play-In Round on Wednesday night. The Hounds, who dominated the shot category, came close multiple times in the first half with Ryan James hitting the post in the 16th minute and Legion FC goalkeeper Trevor Spangenberg keeping out multiple efforts from Neco Brett, Steevan Dos Santos, Kenardo Forbes, and Kevin Kerr to keep the game scoreless heading into the halftime break. Into the second half, Spangenberg’s heroics continued as he stopped Dos Santos and Brett again, with a save in the 88th minute on Brett looking like the final difference maker. However, Pittsburgh’s persistence saw them continue to knock on the door until it eventually opened in the 90th minute when Legion FC was undone on a set piece that saw Joe Greenspan find the head of Mark Forrest, who looped his effort over an onrushing Spangenberg to nod his side in front late on. In the three minutes of added time, Birmingham were unable to create a quality opportunity with Pittsburgh grinding out the result that wins them the Eastern Conference. For Legion FC, a tenth-place finish means they will play on Wednesday night against North Carolina FC in the Play-In Round of the Championship Playoffs.
USL Championship Man of the Match
Trevor Spangenberg, Birmingham Legion FC – Though he conceded late, Spangenberg was the main reason why Pittsburgh did not find multiple goals on the night with the shotstopper making 11 crucial saves in an impressive outing.