The Swope Park Rangers (3-12-6, 15 points) battled with Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC (10-3-8, 38 points) for 90 minutes at Highmark Stadium on Saturday night but fell short in a 3-2 loss. Pittsburgh scored twice early in the second half and despite a strong effort from the Rangers, the Riverhounds held on for all three points and stayed unbeaten at home on the season (7-0-5).
Head coach Paulo Nagamura started a youthful lineup including Portuguese winger Ze Pedro, who made his debut for the club. Four players joined the Rangers on loan from Sporting Kansas City: defender Jaylin Lindsey, midfielders Wan Kuzain Wan Kamal and Gedion Zelalem, and forward Tyler Freeman.
Felipe Hernandez, who captained the Rangers tonight, had the first attempt early on after dispossessing the Riverhounds in the attacking third. He lined up his shot from just outside the box but dragged it wide.
Moments later, Pittsburgh threatened as Christian Volesky found space in the center of the area and redirected a header towards goal, hitting the woodwork and the Rangers played the ball out for a corner. The ensuing corner resulted in Volesky again finding space, and this time he made the Rangers pay as he headed into the corner in the seventh minute to make the score 1-0.
Hernandez again forced a turnover in the 11th minute and fired a shot on goal, but Austin Pack was in position to make the save. The Rangers pulled themselves level in the 32nd minute as Freeman was bundled over from behind in the area by Mouhamed Dabo, resulting in a penalty. Zelalem stepped up and sent Pack diving the wrong way to make the score 1-1 heading into halftime.
Pittsburgh came out firing in the second half, as first Neco Brett snatched the go-ahead goal in the 47th minute after a long run and finish, before Anthony Velarde doubled the Riverhounds lead four minutes later, leaving the Rangers with a mountain to climb for the remainder of the half.
The Rangers did claw their way back into the game in the 65th minute as Hernandez laid the ball off to Ze Pedro just outside the Pittsburgh box, who curled a brilliant left footed shot past Pack and brought the Rangers back to within one.
John Pulskamp came up with some big saves for the Rangers down the stretch, including an excellent stop from close range to deny Neco Brett. However, the Rangers were un able to find a third goal and slipped to 3-12-6 on the season.
The Rangers are back in action next week as the side travels south to duel with Atlanta United 2 (4-12-5, 17 points) at Fifth Third Bank Stadium next Friday, Aug. 16. The game will be streamed live on ESPN+.
2019 USL Championship
Game 21 of 34
Highmark Stadium | Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Weather: 72 degrees and sunny
|Swope Park Rangers (3-12-6, 15 points)||1||1||2|
|Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC (10-3-8, 38 points)||1||2||3|
Swope Park Rangers: John Pulskamp; Jaylin Lindsey (Rennico Clarke 62'), Kaveh Rad, Camden Riley, Alexsander; Wan Kuzain, Felipe Hernandez, Gedion Zelalem; Ze Pedro, Ethan Vanacore-Decker (Wilson Harris 82'), Tyler Freeman (Ayyoub Allach 63')
Subs Not Used: Max Trejo, Rassambek Akhmatov, Killian Colombie, Jerome Ngom Mbekeli
Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC: Austin Pack; Ryan James, Joseph Greenspan (C) (Thomas Vancaeyezeele 63'), Tobi Adewole, Jordan Dover; Anthony Velarde (Noah Franke 63'), Robbie Mertz, Mouhamed Dabo, Sammy Kahsai (Renardo Forbes 82'), Neco Brett; Christian Volesky
Subs Not Used: Kyle Morton, Kevin Kerr, Daniel Rovira, Steevan Dos Santos
PIT -- Christian Volesky 3 (Robbie Mertz 2) 7’
SPR -- Gedion Zelalem 1 (penalty kick) 33'
PIT -- Neco Brett 7 (Jordan Dover 2) 47'
PIT -- Anthony Velarde 3 (Robbie Mertz 3) 51'
SPR -- Ze Pedro 1 (Felipe Hernandez 3) 67’
SPR -- Camden Riley (Yellow Card; Unsporting Behavior) 19’
PIT -- Anthony Velarde (Yellow Card; Persistent Infringement) 37
PIT -- Robbie Mertz (Yellow Card; Unsporting Behavior) 45
PIT -- Ryan James (Yellow Card; Unsporting Behavior) 56
PIT -- Jordan Dover (Yellow Card; Unsporting Behavior) 78
|Shots on Goal||4||7|
Referee: Alejandro Mariscal
Assistant Referee: Eric Weisbrod
Assistant Referee: James Duling
Fourth Official: Jason Caruso