PITTSBURGH — Russell Cicerone scored twice, and Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC held on playing down a man for a 2-0 win over Indy Eleven tonight at Carroll Stadium in Indianapolis.
Cicerone got a goal on each side of halftime for the Hounds (13-6-4), who are 6-0-1 since the start of July. The strikes give Cicerone 11 goals on the season, which make him just the third Hounds player to have consecutive 10-goal seasons, joining Corey Hertzog and Neco Brett.
Indy (6-12-4) had a man advantage for most of the second half after Marc Ybarra was sent off for a second yellow card in the 54th minute, but the Hounds defense and goalkeeper Jahmali Waite closed the match out for a second consecutive shutout.
The Hounds controlled territory from the start of the match, winning a corner kick and recording the game’s first shot in less than a minute.
In the 13th minute, the Hounds took the lead when Dani Rovira had room to carry the ball inside the box from the left side. The left back picked out Cicerone’s run toward the middle of the goal and placed his pass in a perfect spot for the headed finish. It was the fourth assist of the season for Rovira, a career best for the fourth-year defender/midfielder.
Indy nearly tied things up just four minutes later, but Manuel Arteaga put his side’s best chance of the half over the bar after being set up in front of goal by Juan Tejada.
Cicerone doubled the lead in the 52nd minute after Ybarra slotted a pass behind the defense for Albert Dikwa, who carried the ball down the right side and hit Cicerone in stride for a tap-in finish.
But things got dicier just two minutes later, when Ybarra reflexively held back Indy’s Solomon Asante after a turnover. While situationally a good foul, it was an ill-advised decision by the first-year pro after being booked in the first half. Ybarra received his marching orders, and for the second season in a row, the Hounds were reduced to 10 men in Indianapolis.
Possession naturally moved in Indy’s favor; the hosts finished with 62 percent of the ball. The Eleven thought they had pulled a goal back when Stéfano Pinho’s header struck the underside of the crossbar in the 87th minute, and while replays showed the ball might have been fully across the line, the call on the field was no goal.
The Hounds finished defending resolutely and allowed only one shot on goal over the 90 minutes — a free kick by Asante in stoppage time that was caught by Waite for the final play of the game.
Hounds Man of the Match
Russell Cicerone played more as a true strike partner with Dikwa in the match, and he showed off his goal-scoring chops with his second multi-goal effort of the season. He now has 27 goals since joining the Hounds before the 2021 season. That total ties him with the aforementioned Hertzog for sixth on the club’s all-time scoring list.
The Hounds return home for a matchup with major playoff seeding implications when they host Memphis 901 FC at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13, at Highmark Stadium. Memphis (13-5-3), who the Hounds beat on the season’s opening day, was hosting Hartford in a match later this evening.
Riverhounds SC lineup (5-2-1-2) — Jahmali Waite; Dani Rovira (Mekeil Williams 70’), Jelani Peters, Arturo Ordóñez, Shane Wiedt, Toby Sims (Nate Dossantos 70’); Marc Ybarra (sent off 54’), Danny Griffin; Robbie Mertz (Kenardo Forbes 60’); Russell Cicerone (Dane Kelly 59’), Albert Dikwa (Alex Dixon 90+2’)
Indy Eleven lineup (4-3-3) — Sean Lewis; Neveal Hackshaw, Jesús Vázquez, Mechack Jérôme, Jared Timmer (Alex McQueen 72’); Ayoze Garcia (Robby Dambrot 83’), Justin Ingram (Wilfredo Rivera 83’), Bryam Rebellón (Stéfano Pinho 64’); Juan Tejada, Manuel Arteaga, Solomon Asante
PIT — Russell Cicerone 13’ (Dani Rovira)
PIT — Russell Cicerone 52’ (Albert Dikwa)
IND — Manuel Arteaga 43’ (caution – unsporting behavior)
PIT — Marc Ybarra 44’ (caution – unsporting behavior)
IND — Assistant coach Matt Williams 49’ (caution – dissent)
PIT — Marc Ybarra 54’ (sent off – second cautionable offense)
IND — Ayoze Garcia 77’ (caution – unsporting behavior)
PIT — Dane Kelly 87’ (caution – delaying restart)
IND — Jesús Vazquez 90’ (caution – dissent)
IND — Neveal Hackshaw 90+1’ (caution – unsporting behavior)