Riverhounds advance on kicks in U.S. Open Cup
Playing its first U.S. Open Cup match at Highmark Stadium, the Pittsburgh Riverhounds got a memorable scare.
The Riverhounds needed penalty kicks to settle their first-round match in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup as they advanced past RWB Adria, 5-4, in a shootout after the match was tied, 1-1, after 120 minutes.
The Hounds travel to face the Ocean City Nor'easters of the Premier Development League, a league one division below the Riverhounds' USL Pro, in a second-round match Tuesday.
Jose Angulo, Mike Green, Rob Vincent, Matt Dallman and Kevin Kerr all converted in the shootout for the Riverhounds, while Johnny Morris hit the crossbar on Adria's fourth kick for the only miss. Seth C'deBaca scored early in the second half to tie the score in regulation for the Riverhounds after Carlos Munoz pounced on a bad turnover to put Adria ahead, 1-0, in the 17th minute.
“That's a true Open Cup game. It's David and Goliath out there,” said Riverhounds CEO/player Jason Kutney, who was not in the team for the match. “You can see that you can have 95 percent of the possession, but if you make one silly mistake, it can make for a long evening.”
RWB Adria, a Croatian club from Chicago, was one of eight amateur teams to qualify for the U.S. Open Cup through regional qualifying in the U.S. Adult Soccer Association. The team reached the cup's semifinals in 1978 and 1991.
“There's a big ‘A' in amateur, but the last two times we've played in the cup, we took Rochester to overtime and took Pittsburgh to overtime,” Adria manager Ante Loncar said. “This is a bunch of guys that are all going to wake up at 8 a.m. tomorrow and go to work, so I'm happy with them.”
Munoz scored the opening goal after intercepting a soft pass by Hounds defender Anthony Vazquez at the edge of the penalty area. The striker took one touch to tee up the ball in space and fired a low shot from 15 yards away.
“It was a shell-shocker in the early part of the game,” Kutney said. “(Vazquez) knew it was bad when he hit it, but that's one of those things you work through as a player and as a team, and he really played a good game after that.”
C'deBaca scored in the 53rd minute with a low, driven shot that found its way through traffic after a corner kick.
From the outset, Adria defended the Hounds' set pieces with 10 or 11 players falling back into the penalty area, and it did so with great success in the first half. But when the ball fell right to C'deBaca's feet outside the box, Adria's defenders were all too far away to close out on the midfielder's shot from distance.