Michigan Bucks GK Adam Grinwis makes a dramatic save in the 86th minute off a Pittsburgh Riverhounds corner kick. Photo: Pittsburgh Riverhounds
In 2006, the Michigan Bucks upset the Pittsburgh Riverhounds 2-0 to move on to the Third Round of the US Open Cup against an MLS side. This time, they repeated history, but it took until the final seconds of the game for the PDL side Bucks to win 1-0. Riverhounds defender Louie Rolko fouled Bucks forward Anthony Grant in the box to force a penalty. Defender Stew Givens shot under Hunter Gilstrap’s hands to break the deadlock.
Michigan moves on into the Third Round, hosting the MLS side Chicago Fire, on May 29 at Ultimate Soccer Arenas in Pontiac, Michigan.
This was truly a game of two halves, and two goalies. The first half belonged to Michigan and the second to Pittsburgh, but the stars for both teams were the goalkeepers.
In the first half, the Bucks came out strong with a 4-3-3 formation. The only things keeping them off the board were the strong defensive work of the Riverhounds’ Louie Rolko and Niko Katic, and some incredible saves by keeper Hunter Gilstrap. The ball hardly left the attacking third for the Bucks in the first half, with the exception of a few opportunities on the counterattack for the Hounds. The attacking combination of the Bucks’ Bim Ogunyemi and Steven Miller was dominant all half.
Photo: Pittsburgh Riverhounds
At halftime, the teams went to the locker room scoreless. The Riverhounds came out of the locker room early and apparently recharged and ready. The Hounds were more dominant throughout the second half, despite halftime substitutions that shifted them to a more conservative 4-5-1 formation. Pittsburgh’s midfield had the majority of the chances in the second half, including a shot by Stefan Lundberg that rebounded off the crossbar late in the half. Impressive work by the Bucks’ keeper, Adam Grinwis, was the only thing keeping Pittsburgh from taking the lead.
Despite the offensive display in the second half, it was a defensive error that ended the US Open Cup hopes for Pittsburgh. With about 3 seconds before the clock struck 90 minutes, Hounds’ defender Louie Rolko took down forward Anthony Grant inside the Hounds’ box. The referee didn’t need time to contemplate before pointing to the penalty spot. Rolko got a yellow card and the Bucks were given a penalty kick. Defender Stew Givens took the kick, putting a right-footed shot under Hunter Gilstrap in stoppage time to secure the victory for Michigan. The referee allowed a few minutes of stoppage time, but it wasn’t enough for the Riverhounds to equalize.