PITTSBURGH – An early goal by Danny Griffin proved enough as Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC earned a 1-0 victory against Birmingham Legion FC on Saturday night at Highmark Stadium in a contest that saw the visitors finish without an official shot on target for the contest.
The Hounds made an ideal start as Griffin struck after just four minutes, controlling a low cross from the left by Nathan Dossantos near the top of the six-yard area before firing a turning shot into the right side of the net for his first goal of the campaign. Five minutes later the hosts went close again as Kenardo Forbes’ through-ball found Alex Dixon for a shot from 12 yards that was saved by Birmingham’s Matt VanOekel before Griffin shot a second chance wide of the right post, and while the game began to even out in terms of possession as the half progressed, Pittsburgh continued to look the more dangerous of the two. That almost paid off in the 31st minute when Kenardo Forbes’ delivery from the left found Albert Dikwa for a first-time shot that was brilliantly turned over the crossbar by VanOekel to keep it a one-goal game.
Pittsburgh continued to push for a second goal as the second half began when Griffin got past his marker in the left side of the penalty area and cut back a pass for Marc Ybarra, whose shot was blocked behind by Birmingham’s Alex Crognale. Dixon and Russell Cicerone were also denied by good saves from VanOekel soon after, while Birmingham saw Edi Horvat head over from a corner kick by Enzo Martinez shortly before the hour-mark as the visitors tried to hit back.
The Hounds continued to have the better chances, though, and Dixon almost found the net with six minutes to go as his shot deflected just wide of the left post. VanOekel was sharp once again two minutes later as he denied Luis Argudo on a turning shot from 14 yards, but the Hounds wouldn’t need an additional goal as they preserved all three points in a solid rebound performance.
USLChampionship.com Player of the Match
Danny Griffin, Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC – Griffin scored the only goal of the game and finished with four shots overall while winning 5 of 7 duels and making eight recoveries in midfield.
PIT – Danny Griffin (Nathan Dossantos) 4’