Saturday, July 27, 2013
TORONTO -- The Pittsburgh Riverhounds maintained their pursuit of a place in the USL PRO Playoffs as Jose Angulo's goal lifted his side to a 1-0 victory against the Toronto FC Reserves on Saturday evening at BMO Field. Pittsburgh pulled within two points of VSI Tampa Bay FC for the eighth and final place in the playoffs, while Toronto finished with 10 players on the pitch after a 74th minute sending off to Manuel Aparicio.
The Reds got off to a lively start with new Spanish import Alvaro Rey finding Emery Welshman inside the area at the 15th minute. The Canadian took on two defenders before firing wide.
Later in the half Darel Russell missed the target with a shot from 25 yards and Aparicio tried to chip Pittsburgh keeper Hunter Gilstrap from a through ball by Mark Bloom. Toronto controlled the tempo for much of the first half, but unconverted chances came back to haunt them at the 41st minute when the visitors made the most of a rare opportunity.
A combination play between Hounds’ Mike Seth and Angulo set up the latter for a shot on goal. The former New York Red Bulls player hit it from just inside the penalty area to give Pittsburgh the 1-0 lead despite Toronto goalkeeper Stefan Frei getting a touch on the ball. Angulo’s shot was too hot to handle.
Coming out of the intermission Toronto looked to level and nearly found the equalizer through Welshman. A corner from Aparicio found the foot of Russell, his attempt deflected toward the head of Welshman. The Mississauga native’s header sailed just over the bar before the hour mark.
Toronto played with urgency but was continually thwarted by an organized Pittsburgh side happy to sit on their lead for much of the second half until Aparicio’s ejection. At that point the Riverhounds found the space to apply pressure in search of a second goal.
Ten minutes from regulation Angulo nearly got his second of the contest but for the woodwork. The Hounds tested Frei relentlessly in the closing stages, but the Toronto keeper came up with a pair of massive saves, including one against Stefan Lundberg up close at the 87th minute. The Riverhounds would not end up needing a second goal, however, as they took what could prove to be a crucial victory.