Photo courtesy of Chris Cowger / Pittsburgh Riverhounds
PITTSBURGH – Saint Louis FC jumped into first place in the Eastern Conference as the side overcame an early defensive blunder to rally for a 2-1 victory against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds on Wednesday at Highmark Stadium. Both teams were coming off thrilling late-game winners in Week 3, with Pittsburgh rallying past the Charleston Battery and STLFC coming back for a victory against the defending champion New York Red Bulls II. After the Hounds’ Kay Banjo scored his first goal in the fifth minute, Saint Louis responded well. Former Pittsburgh forward Jose Angulo netted a first-half equalizer and Christian Volesky found the 68th-minute winner. Both tallies were assisted by Wesley Charpie. Saint Louis improves to 3-0-1 (10 points) and moves one point ahead of the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the East standings, with the Rowdies having played three times thus far. Pittsburgh drops to 1-2-1 (4 points).
5’ – PGH – Kay Banjo
30’ – STL – Jose Angulo (Wesley Charpie)
68’ – STL – Christian Volesky (Wesley Charpie)
Three Things That Mattered:
1. Saint Louis FC’s Jose Angulo, the 2013 USL MVP during the first of his two seasons with the Riverhounds, was naturally in the spotlight against his former Pittsburgh side. He stepped up in the moment, finding a 30th-minute equalizer. Angulo was coming off a strong match against the New York Red Bulls II the previous week with a game-tying penalty kick and an assist on Seth Rudolph’s winner. This time around, his goal was in the run of play with some tight defense hounding him. Wesley Charpie crossed in from the right side, and with a coupe defenders to tend with, Angulo spun clockwise to put the ball on his left and he slotted it home from nine yards out to tie the score at 1-1.
2. The buildup play from STLFC improved considerably as the game progressed, and especially after the club evened things up. Charpie had a strong setup for Christian Volesky’s game-winner. With some pace and precision, Charpie managed to split the Riverhounds’ defense from the left side of the pitch with a low, skipping pass to the middle of the box, and all Volesky had to do was get in front of his defender. Volesky’s angled run and redirect found the back of the net for his third goal of the season and a 2-1 advantage as STLFC continues its unbeaten season under Head Coach Preki.
3. Kay Banjo’s first professional goal in his first professional start probably couldn’t have come easier. Saint Louis goalkeeper Devala Gorrick had an uncharacteristic giveaway in the five minute and Banjo took advantage with the finish. That said, Banjo did have several wonderful moments throughout the match to demonstrate his knack for the goal. In the 20th minute, Banjo was just inches away from recording a brace and giving his side a two-goal lead. From 20 yards out, Banjo cut to his right and aimed for the far left post. The ball was out of Gorrick’s reach and it ricocheted off of the post and into the gloves of the STLFC goalkeeper. Banjo was one of the brighter spots for a Riverhounds side that had some energy early but could never fully regain that spirit and threaten on the offensive end in the second half.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match:
Wesley Charpie, Saint Louis FC – Charpie assisted both STLFC goals, the latter a threaded dish that Christian Volesky easily ran onto for the winner.
Pittsburgh Riverhounds at Charlotte Independence – April 15, 7 p.m. ET, Eagle Field
Saint Louis FC at FC Cincinnati – April 15, 7 p.m. ET, Nippert Stadium