PITTSBURGH – Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC goalkeeper Kevin Silva made a crucial penalty kick save in the final minute as the hosts took a 1-0 victory against El Paso Locomotive FC on Saturday night at Highmark Stadium to maintain the Hounds’ perfect record on home turf this season.
The hosts had an early sighter from 25 yards from Alex Dixon saved by El Paso goalkeeper Evan Newton, while Kenardo Forbes also went close for the hosts in the 13th minute as a knock-down header by Dane Kelly deflected kindly off a defender for the playmaker only for him to shoot wide of the right post. Locomotive FC’s first good chance, meanwhile, came to Josue Aaron Gomez in the 26th minute after Christiano Francois played a pass in from the right to the top of the penalty area where the Mexican forward fired to the top-right corner to force a good save by Silva.
The hosts continued to threaten more consistently in attack, though, and they almost took the lead on the half-hour mark as Forbes’ corner kick from the right found Kelly for a near-post header that Newton parried away before holding a save on the second attempt by Mekeil Williams. Pittsburgh’s Luis Argudo also fired over the crossbar from 16 yards shortly after, while Dixon hit the left post two minutes before the halftime break after a volleyed finish off a cross from the right by Russell Cicerone.
Pittsburgh got the reward for its pressure inside a minute of the start of the second half, however, as Dixon broke down the right side at pace, beat his defender inside the penalty area and centered for Cicerone, who had time to control and fire home. El Paso tried to hit back quickly and in the 53rd minute a lifted pass by Andrew Fox offered a chance to Gomez, whose shot was parried and then smothered by Silva as he came off his line to challenge. Eleven minutes the Hounds almost doubled their lead as off a corner kick from the right Albert Dikwa’s near-post header sent the ball into the six-yard area, only for Cicerone to stretch and head over the crossbar.
The Hounds almost added to their lead with 15 minutes to go as Robbie Dambrot tried an overhead kick from eight yards that went into the hands of Newton, but with two minutes to go El Paso was handed a chance to level as Silva came off his line to try and claim a free kick and was ruled to have fouled Yuma as they went up to challenge for the cross. The goalkeeper redeemed himself immediately, though, as Solignac’s shot to the left corner was turned wide of the post by Silva to preserve the shutout, and all three points for the hosts.
USLChampionship.com Player of the Match
Russell Cicerone, Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC – Cicerone scored the only goal of the game and had four shots and three chances created overall while completing 21 of 26 passes and winning 6 of 10 duels.
PIT – Russell Cicerone (Alex Dixon) 46’