Photo courtesy Chris Cowger / Pittsburgh Riverhounds
PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Riverhounds claimed the first edition of this year’s Keystone Derby Cup as Corey Hertzog’s fourth goal of the season earned a 1-0 victory against the Harrisburg City Islanders at Highmark Stadium. The Riverhounds almost grabbed an early lead as a header by Jack Thompson sent in Kevin Kerr, but his lobbed finish went just wide of the left post. Pittsburgh continued to hold the majority of the play in the first half, but a deflected shot by Jack Thompson proved the only effort the side could manage on goal in the opening half-hour. The game tilted further in the direction of the Riverhounds seven minutes into the second half when Abass Mohamed was sent off for his second yellow card, but it was the City Islanders who went close to taking the lead when James Thomas surged into the penalty area and was denied at the near post by Riverhounds goalkeeper Trey Mitchell in the 64th minute. With 15 minutes to go the Riverhounds took the lead, though, as Corey Hertzog headed home Kevin Kerr’s cross into the right corner, and that proved enough to give the hosts their second win of the season.
75’ – PGH – Corey Hertzog (Kevin Kerr)
Three Things That Matter:
1. Despite being down to 10 men, the Harrisburg City Islanders hadn’t allowed a shot since the dismissal of Abass Mohamed for his second yellow card seven minutes into the second half as the back line remained disciplined and withstood the hosts’ pressure. With 15 minutes to go, a decisive lapse saw all that good work go awry as Corey Hertzog’s fourth goal of the season made the difference in the first Keystone Derby Cup clash of the season. Hertzog has been Mr. Reliable for the Riverhounds over the past two seasons, and came through again when his side needed it most to pick up all three points.
2. The victory for the Riverhounds against their long-standing rivals was all-the-more important considering the lack of success their positive play had achieved so far this season. With a second win, Pittsburgh can look forward to a big game on Wednesday night when Toronto FC II visits Highmark Stadium for the USL Game of the Week on ESPN3. Another victory would quickly get the Hounds back into the playoff conversation.
3. After the disappointment the City Islanders suffered when Aaron Wheeler was sidelined after making a big start to the season for the club, the big forward’s early departure in Saturday night’s game has to be a concern after the good start the club has made to the year. Harrisburg Head Coach Bill Becher said this preseason be thought had Wheeler remained healthy, the City Islanders would have been a playoff side. Hopefully the former PDL Most Valuable Player is back in action soon.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Corey Hertzog, Pittsburgh Riverhounds – Hertzog scored the game’s only goal, and finished with five shots overall while also creating two scoring chances for the Hounds.
Pittsburgh Riverhounds vs. Toronto FC II – May 3, 7 p.m. ET, Highmark Stadium (ESPN3)
Harrisburg City Islanders at New York Red Bulls II – May 6, 4 p.m. ET, MSU Soccer Park