ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – A goal and assist by Russell Cicerone gave Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC a 2-1 victory against the Tampa Bay Rowdies on Saturday night at Al Lang Stadium, ending Tampa Bay’s five-game home winning streak to start the season.
Meeting for the second time this season, both sides had half-chances early as Tampa Bay’s Leo Fernandes sent a volley high off a cross by Lewis Hilton in the second minute and Pittsburgh’s Albert Dikwa shot wide off a low ball by Alex Dixon from the right. The Rowdies went closer in the 10th minute as Sebastian Guenzatti cut back a cross for Jordan Adebayo-Smith from the left near the top of the six-yard area, but the English forward was crowded out by the Hounds defense and couldn’t get a clean shot away.
The hosts got a clear look at goal in the 13th minute as Conner Antley cut a low cross from the right side through the penalty area that reached Laurence Wyke at the top of the penalty area, but Wyke’s low shot through traffic was cleared off the line by Hounds defender Mekeil Williams to keep the game scoreless. Eight minutes later, Pittsburgh struck as it moved quickly upfield on a counterattack that saw Danny Griffin send Russell Cicerone into the left channel. Cicerone’s low ball back through the penalty area found Griffin, who had continued his run to the back post to send home a first-time finish.
The Hounds almost added a second on the counterattack just past the half-hour mark as Cicerone again got in on the left side and lifted a cross to Dikwa at the far post, but Rowdies goalkeeper Evan Louro quickly came off his line to block the header behind for a corner kick.
Pittsburgh held onto its lead to the halftime break, and then added a second in the 54th minute as Kenardo Forbes became the first player to reach 40 regular-season assists in the Championship’s history as he found Cicerone moving between defenders for a low finish past Louro.
The Rowdies tried to find a way back into the game in the final 15 minutes and Dayonn Harris put a header on target off a cross by Wyke that was saved by Pittsburgh’s Danny Vitiello. Guenzatti then fired a first-time shot crisply from 25 yards that Vitiello punched away with five minutes to go, and in the second minute of stoppage time Guenzatti converted after Harris beat two defenders on the right side and slotted a pass back for the Argentine forward to tuck home.
Harris then had a chance to pull the hosts level a minute later as Matthew Srbely found him in the right side of the penalty area, only for his shot to flash across the face of goal and go wide of the left post. That would be the final chance for the Rowdies to level, however, as Pittsburgh claimed its second consecutive victory.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Russell Cicerone, Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC – Cicerone recorded one goal and one assist, had three key passes and completed 15 of 17 passes overall in leading the Hounds to their first road victory in Tampa Bay.
PIT – Danny Griffin (Russell Cicerone) 21’
PIT – Russell Cicerone (Kenardo Forbes) 54’
TBR – Sebastian Guenzatti (Dayonn Harris) 90+2’