Riverhounds and Orlando City Lions finish in a scoreless draw at Highmark Stadium

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Goalkeepers Gilstrap and Kempin have stellar performances

 

Pittsburgh—On a humid night in Station Square, the Pittsburgh Riverhounds and Orlando City Lions end in a scoreless draw at Highmark Stadium.  Despite receiving consistent pressure inside their penalty areas, Riverhounds goalkeeper Hunter Gilstrap and Lions goalkeeper Jon Kempin would not concede a goal in the match, resulting in standout performances by both.  The Riverhounds outshot the Lions 13-12, while the Lions tallied twelve corners to the Riverhounds three.

 

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The Lions opened the game with high pressure and maintained possession inside the Riverhounds defensive third for the first ten minutes of play.  The Lions played into their target striker, CJ Sapong, Major League Soccer’s Rookie of the Year in 2011, who held the ball and linked up with the Lions midfielders.

Withstanding the early pressure from the Lions, the Riverhounds would begin to threaten the Lions in the 17th minute.  Center back, Andrew Marshall played a ball down the left flank for Darren Amoo.  Out-pacing his marker to the end line, Amoo played a ball back towards the penalty spot for his trailing counterpart, Jose Angulo.  As the ball squirted through the scrum, Angulo took a first-time shot with his right foot that sailed just over the crossbar.

The Lions responded quickly with a combination between Sapong and midfielders Jamie Watson and Adama Mbengue in the 20th minute.  Sapong set a ball back for Watson at the edge of the penalty, seeing Watson touch to his left and slot a pass for Mbengue.  A quality first touch by Mbengue split two Riverhounds defenders allowing him to travel one-on-one with Gilstrap.  As Gilstrap stepped off of his line to close the ball, Mbengue struck a left-footed shot that trickled wide of the right post.

Four minutes later, Amoo showed a flash of brilliance off of a throw-in.  Receiving the throw from Matt Dallman on the corner of the right eighteen-yard box, Amoo turned the ball inside to his left foot.  As the ball was coming down on his turn, Amoo rifled a side-volley with his left foot that was headed into the top left corner of the Lions goal.  Reacting quickly to the shot, Kempin sprung quickly his right and got just enough of a touch to parry the ball off of the upright to deny Amoo.

As the Lions cleared their lines with a long ball up the field, Gilstrap collected the ball and distributed to Dallman on the right flank.  Picking his head up to see Angulo racing across the field, Dallman played the ball over the Lions defense.  Running one-on-one with Kempin, Angulo lofted the ball over the goalkeeper only to see his shot ricochet off the crossbar.

The Riverhounds best chance of the first half came when Marshall found Dallman on a diagonal ball inside the Lions penalty area.  Inside-outing his defender on his run, Dallman was brought down inside the penalty area, resulting in a penalty kick.  Angulo stepped up to take the penalty, but Kempin would dive to his left to deny the striker of his twelve goal of the season in the 37th minute of play.

In the first minute of the second half, Angulo would find the back of the net, but the striker was called off sides to deny the Riverhounds the lead.

The action continued throughout the entire second half, seeing constant nail biting moments for both the Riverhounds and Lions, only to see each opportunity turned away by the net-minders.
The Lions best opportunity to find the back of the net came in the final minute of play.  Outside back, Luke Boden traveled down the left with pace.  As his marker closed the ball just before the end line, Boden cut the ball back for Sapong at the edge of the penalty area.  Sapong struck a hard first-time shot towards the near post, but Gilstrap made a spectacular save to push the ball over the crossbar and thwart the striker’s attempt.

The Riverhounds return to action on Friday for the Frank B. Fuhrer International Friendly and Fireworks presented by KEYTEX Energy against current FA Cup Champions, Wigan Athletic FC.  The game is scheduled for a 7:00 p.m. start.  The Lions return to sunshine state to host the Harrisburg City Islanders on Saturday.  Their game will kickoff at 7:30 p.m. at the Florida Citrus Bowl.

International soccer is coming to Highmark Stadium!  Tickets are on sale now for the Frank B. Fuhrer International Friendly and Fireworks featuring Wigan Athletic FC presented by KEYTEX Energy.  Don’t miss your chance to see the current FA Cup Champions take on the Riverhounds.  To purchase tickets, visit Riverhounds.com or call (800) 745-3000.

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