Riverhounds beat VSI Tampa Bay, 3-2, clinch playoff spot
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The Riverhounds are headed to the USL Pro playoffs, but like so many games this season, the clinching win didn't come easy.
Jose Angulo, Rob Vincent and Darren Amoo scored in a 15-minute span to give the ‘Hounds a three-goal lead, but they had to hang on in the final moments for a 3-2 win over VSI Tampa Bay on Sunday at Highmark Stadium.
The win ensured that the Riverhounds (10-7-7) will finish in the top eight, but they could finish as high as fourth with wins in their two remaining regular-season matches.
“You've got to rise up, and you've got to work hard. There's going to be some adversity, but our hard work came through in the end,” Riverhounds CEO Jason Kutney said.
Chad Burt scored in the 70th minute, and Andriy Budnyy scored in the 85th for Tampa Bay (9-12-4) as the Hounds' trend of allowing late goals continued. But unlike Friday in a 1-0 loss to Rochester, the ‘Hounds' defense and goalkeeper Hunter Gilstrap made just enough plays to hang on for the win.
“We just stopped playing,” Riverhounds coach Justin Evans said. “We were up, 3-1, and we made it too difficult on ourselves. We stopped connecting passes going forward and just sat in a shell. But it's good (we held on), and we can learn from that.”
Angulo started the scoring by converting a penalty kick in the 53rd minute, after Tampa Bay's Josh Rife was called for handling a Mike Seamon cross. The goal was Angulo's 13th, which ties him for second in USL Pro.
Vincent scored next on a low, right-footed drive from 30 yards away that hit the left corner of the net. The goal gave him three this season and two in two games against Tampa Bay.
Amoo's goal was a simple touch into the net after Angulo went on a breakaway down the right side and sent a low cross to the front of the net. Amoo's fifth of the season gave the Hounds a 3-0 lead, but Burt scored on a rebound just two minutes later to start Tampa Bay's rally.
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