Riverhounds clinch playoff berth with 3-2 win over VSI Tampa Bay at Highmark Stadium

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Raise over $15,000 for Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

Pittsburgh—On a beautiful Sunday afternoon in Station Square, the Pittsburgh Riverhounds defeated VSI Tampa Bay 3-2 and clinched a berth in the USL PRO playoffs. 

In a critical match-up for a ticket into the post-season, the Riverhounds and Tampa Bay didn’t disappoint the sold-out crowd, as five goals were scored in the second half to deliver an exciting atmosphere at Highmark Stadium.  With goals from Jose Angulo, Rob Vincent, and Darren Amoo, along with a “Jersey off the Back” raffle, the Riverhounds also raised over $15,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

With both, the Riverhounds and Tampa Bay playing two matches over the weekend, the tempo in the first half was extremely slow.  Carrying tired legs into the match, along with a temperature near ninety, both sides were scoreless at the half.

Coming out of the break with playoffs on the mind, the Riverhounds would strike first in the 53rd minute when Angulo converted from the penalty stripe.  Driving down the right flank with speed, Mike Seamon would travel over sixty yards on the break.  Cutting inside the penalty area to hold off his marker, Seamon would attempt a cross for Angulo, but his service struck the arm of Josh Rife at the near post.  The referee awarded the Riverhounds a penalty kick and Angulo stepped up to score the game’s first goal.

Seven minutes later, second-half substitute Stefan Lundberg took a page out of Seamon’s book and drove down the left flank with speed.  Waiting for his teammates to join him in the attack, Lundberg found defender Mike Green in the left corner.  Green played a ball back for Alfonso Motagalvan at the edge of the penalty area.  Motagalvan set the ball back for Vincent racing into the attack.  Taking a touch to prepare his body, Vincent rifled a shot that tucked just inside the left upright to put the Riverhounds up two goals.

The Riverhounds counter-attacked well on the night, and their third goal came on a combination between multiple players inside their own defensive third.  Following the combination, Motagalvan found Angulo all alone on the right flank with a ball over the top. Traveling with speed towards Tampa Bay’s goal, Angulo slotted a ball towards the penalty spot for Amoo. Taking a first-time shot with his favorite left foot, Amoo passed the ball past goalkeeper Alex Horwarth to provide the Riverhounds with a three-goal lead in the 68th minute.

VSI Tampa Bay recorded their first goal of the night one minute after Amoo’s goal.  Mauricio Salles found Cheyne Roberts overlapping into the right corner.  Roberts delivered a cross towards the middle of the penalty area for Chad Burt.  Taking a first-time shot on frame, Burt’s close range shot was blocked by Hunter Gilstrap, but his save was not cleared.  Following up his shot, Burt’s second chance effort would find the back of the net.

Tampa Bay would cut the lead to one goal with ten minutes remaining in the match.  Receiving a dangerous set piece on right flank, Salles would deliver a cross for Andryy Budnyy at the penalty spot.  Rising up in the crowd, Budnyy’s header would deflect off of a Riverhounds Andrew Marshall and at his feet.  Taking a touch out of pressure, Budnyy would pass the ball around Gilstrap for the game’s final goal.

The Riverhounds return to USL PRO action next Wednesday in North Carolina.  The Pittsburgh side will meet the Wilmington Hammerheads at 7:30 p.m. in Legion Stadium.  Tampa Bay returns to the Sunshine State next Thursday to match-up with Charlotte Eagles.  The match is slated for a 7:30 p.m. start at Plant City Stadium.

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