Punchless Riverhounds blanked again
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Goals are becoming tough to find for the Riverhounds.
Despite an edge in time of possession, the Riverhounds were shut out for the third straight USL Pro game in a 1-0 loss to Rochester at Highmark Stadium on Saturday.
The Riverhounds (0-4-3) remain mired at the bottom of the USL Pro standings after back-to-back 1-0 losses and a scoreless draw with Charleston, all home games. On the other hand, Rochester (3-1-4) is undefeated in its last seven matches.
“When we're passing through the midfield and with our backs, we're moving quickly and the passes are pretty sharp and on point,” Riverhounds coach Justin Evans said. “In the attacking third (of the field), we're just not finding that one last pass, and that's the toughest thing to do in soccer.”
Rochester netted the lone goal four minutes before halftime when Alex Dixon scored after a long scramble for a loose ball in the Riverhounds' box.
Riverhounds goalkeeper Michael Lisch punched away a corner kick, but the ball only went as far as defender Pat McMahon near the midfield stripe. McMahon floated a ball back toward goal, and Lisch collided with Tony Walls, which allowed the ball to pop free.
Two Rochester players missed the ball before it rolled back to Dixon, who calmly placed a shot into the left corner of the net.
The Riverhounds players protested for a foul on the collision with Lisch or an offside call against Walls, but the goal stood as the only one of the game.
The Riverhounds dominated possession in the second half, as Rochester — already a defensive team by nature — played with 10 and sometimes 11 players behind the ball to protect its lead.
“Historically, that's how Rochester plays, even when the score is 0-0,” Riverhounds midfielder Seth C'deBaca said. “When you go down one against them, it's definitely frustrating, but at halftime, we were just as confident as we were in the beginning of the game.”
Evans tried different attacking contributions to produce a spark, and changed the team's formation from a 4-1-4-1 look to a more offensive-minded 3-5-2.
Collins John entered the game at halftime for Joseph Ngwenya, and C'deBaca replaced Matt Dallman in the midfield in the 70th minute. Robert Morris product Miro Cabrilo made his Riverhounds debut in the final 10 minutes — he came on as a midfielder to replace defender Sterling Flunder — but the team was never able to score or even create many scoring opportunities.
“We've got the players to do it, but that final ball that needs to be played just isn't clicking,” Evans said. “We have to ask a lot more of their defenders, and we need to work the goalkeeper more. Even the shots we had, they weren't necessarily on target or tough shots.”
John had two of the Riverhounds' best chances, the first of which came early in the second half.
The Riverhounds played a simple long ball forward from their defense, and John used his large frame to shield away the defender and control the ball with his chest. His turning shot had plenty of power but was blocked away by the Rochester defense, which led to a half-hearted appeal for a handling call.
In stoppage time, John took a curling free kick from 25 yards away, but the shot skimmed off the top of the wall and carried over the net for a corner kick.
“We don't lack confidence. We're confident in the guys we have in the locker room,” C'deBaca said. “We haven't been out of any game this year. It's one of those things where I feel once it gets going, we're going to get on a roll.”
Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @Grubba_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Komen acceptance of drilling-linked money raises ire
- Linebacker Harrison coming along slowly since return to Steelers
- Steelers notebook: Shazier returns just in time
- Corbett, Wolf resort to sticks, stones to attract attention
- Critics claim state Attorney General Kane puts politics first
- Lower Burrell man charged with shoplifting
- DEP orders cleanup of former Jeannette Glass property to resume
- Freeport man accused of having child pornography images
- Fire at Flight 93 National Memorial hints at struggle to safeguard historic artifacts
- New Kensington to convert tennis courts to dek hockey rink
- Monsour hospital properties sold at free-and-clear sale