Riverhounds fall to Wigan in Frank B. Fuhrer International Friendly
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It took Jose Angulo three minutes to do what Manchester City couldn't in 90.
The Riverhounds striker scored the game's first goal, and while it wasn't enough to get a shocking result, it provided an exciting start to a 4-1 win for visiting Wigan Athletic in the Frank B. Fuhrer International Friendly at Highmark Stadium on Friday.
Wigan, which won the English FA Cup last season with a 1-0 win over Manchester City, got goals from Roger Espinoza, Emerson Boyce, Grant Holt and Jordi Gomez to end its preseason tour of the U.S. with a 3-0 record.
“Everyone was smiling, everyone was happy,” Riverhounds CEO/player Jason Kutney said. “It was one of the greatest applauses after the game that we've had this year, and I think it was out of respect for the game of soccer, more than anything else.”
The exhibition was the first international match to be played at Highmark Stadium, and not even a 20-minute lightning delay quieted a sellout crowd that got even louder after Angulo's goal. Angulo made a strong individual run to carry the ball into the left side of the penalty area, and his left-footed shot skimmed the bottom of the crossbar and fell into the net.
“When you strike a ball well, you don't even feel it,” Angulo said. “It just felt like a goal. It's a great feeling.”
“When he put that ball in, it made every ounce of effort that went into this game well worth in,” Kutney said.
Espinoza, a Honduran international and former Ohio State player, tied the game in the 11th minute with a left-footed shot from 25 yards, and Boyce put Wigan ahead before halftime by heading in a free kick from Ben Watson. The second-half goals by Holt and Gomez gave Wigan the type of score they wanted before returning to England, where they begin their season on Aug. 3.
“We were very fortunate to get to come into Highmark Stadium, which is such a scenic setting to begin with,” Wigan manager Owen Coyle said. “But we realized we came here with a job to do, in terms of discipline and organization. When we have that, as you've seen tonight, we have terrific quality.”
The Hounds nearly had a second goal when trailing 3-1 after halftime, but Jhonny Arteaga's finish into the right corner of the net was called offside.
“We played very well. We had a couple of chances where we could've tied the score before half, but we got everybody in the game,” Hounds head coach Justin Evans said. “All-in-all, it was very entertaining.”
Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @Grubba_Trib.
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