LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC scored three goals in six minutes either side of halftime to sweep to victory and spoil Louisville City FC’s opening game at Lynn Family Stadium on Sunday evening. Jordan Dover, Robbie Mertz and Anthony Velarde found the net for the visitors, who gained a little revenge for their postseason defeat by LouCity last fall while opening their 2020 season with a win.
A long-range effort by Pittsburgh’s Ropapa Mensah proved the only early threat from the visitors, and LouCity began to set the tempo as Brian Ownby almost seized on a moment of hesitancy in the penalty area by the Hounds to send a low cross from the left that was cleared to safety before Speedy Williams could finish.
Williams was the player to write his name into the Lynn Family Stadium record book in the 18th minute, when Ownby recycled a corner kick on the left side and sent a cross that was half-cleared to Corben Bone. The midfielder laid a pass back to the Jamaican international, and his low shot picked out the bottom-left corner of the net for the first goal in the venue’s history.
The Hounds took time to properly assert themselves, but as the first half wore on, they began to come into the game, and started created chances of their own. Pressure led to a turnover in LouCity’s half shortly before halftime that saw Mensah slide a finish just wide of the left post after splitting a pair of defenders, but in the final minute before the break Kenardo Forbes unlocked Louisville’s defense with a chipped pass that picked out the run of Jordan Dover in behind the defense, and the Canadian tapped home a simple finish to level the game at halftime.
Pittsburgh’s pressure continued to give Louisville headaches immediately following the restart as the Hounds took the lead less than 30 seconds into the second half. An errant pass by Oscar Jimenez was claimed by Mensah, who quickly found Robbie Mertz breaking forward, and the Pittsburgh native sent his finish from the top of the penalty area into the right corner of the net.
Another error, this time by Jimmy Ockford, allowed the Hounds to take a two-goal lead five minutes later as Mensah showed patience after stealing possession to wait for support as he held possession in the left side of the penalty area and picked out Anthony Velarde for a volleyed finish from the middle of the penalty area.
From there, Pittsburgh allowed their hosts little opportunity to find a way back into the game. A shot from 20 yards by 2018 Championship Golden Boot-winner Cameron Lancaster was comfortably claimed by Hound goalkeeper Tomas Gomez just past the hour-mark, but beyond that moment Pittsburgh clamped down hard to limit their host’s chances and saw out an impressive opening statement in its campaign.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Ropapa Mensah, Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC – Mensah notched a pair of assists and had four key passes overall as his consistent pressure helped reshape the game in favor of the Hounds after a slow start.