The Pittsburgh Riverhounds scored two early goals by Rob Vincent and Lebo Moloto within seconds of each other, and added another by Kevin Kerr in the late stages, beating the West Virginia Chaos 3-0 to advance in their second round match of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup at Highmark Stadium.
After a methodical opening few minutes during which the home team controlled possession, they suddenly struck twice.
In the 9th minute, Lebo Moloto brought the ball into the box, but ran into a wall of Chaos defenders on the right side. As it broke loose, the ball came to Kerr, who held the ball up momentarily before playing it back to the top of the box, where he found Rob Vincent standing all alone.
That was all the second leading goal scorer in the USL would need, as Vincent took one touch and drilled a strike into the right side of the goal to give the Riverhounds the early lead.
“I was able to get into a little bit of space there. Kevin was able to find me. Luckily I was able catch it, swing it with my left (foot). And it got us going,” said Vincent.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Chaos played the ball back to their back line. Pittsburgh forward Kene Eze pressured the ball, disrupted a pass that deflected to Moloto, who took a touch, chipped it over one defender, then drilled a low ball on the ground past West Virginia’s Sean Teepan for the 2-0 lead.
The goals came just 41 seconds apart.
The rest of the match played out with Pittsburgh controlling possession, as they would get 12 shot attempts at Teepen.
Trailing by two goals, Chaos hung around in the second half waiting for a prime oppportunity.
The most uneasy moment for the Riverhounds came in the 63rd minute, as Nick McDonald was making a run in front of the circle, he was slightly pushed from behind by Anthony Arena, earning a free kick for the Chaos inside of 20 yards.
Dion Peters’ took the kick, but it sailed just wide of the left post, and the match remained 2-0.
Kerr added the final goal, as he took a pass from Vincent in the 87th minute in the center of the box, sent a low shot to the right lower corner for the final goal of the evening.
Including U.S. Open Cup play, Kerr and Vincent have combined for 12 of the Riverhounds 20 goals this season.
The Riverhounds didn’t feel they overlooked the Chaos.
“You know, it’s very easy to take a game like this lightly. I told the guys, there have been a lot of PDL teams that have won games like this. We didn’t want to be that pro team to lose,” said Mark Steffens, Riverhounds Head Coach.
“They were going to come here with a lot of energy. They were going to pressure us as much as possible,” said Vincent, a former Chaos standout.
“The idea was to score a few early goals. We were able to do that. It helped set the tone for us.”
The Riverhounds went with a combination of some of their regular starters and some players making their first starts. Their lineup included: Ryan Hulings (GK), Anthony Virgara, Sterling Flunder (another former Chaos player), Mike Green, Anthony Arena, Moloto, Kerr, Vincent, Danny Earls, Boris Zivanovic and Eze.
Miro Cabrilo entered for Eze in the 59th, and Stephen Okai came in for Zivanovic in the 72nd minute, while Jereme Raley replaced Kerr in the 89th.
West Virginia’s starting eleven included Teepen (GK), Predrag Ivanovic, Robbie Oslica, Jordan Lavender, Tyrus Sciarra, Nathan Rose, Daniel Smee, Jordan Halpern, Peters, McDonald and Jared Robinson.
West Virginia’s subs included Carlos Cartagena, Ron McKelvey and Josh Ling.
Earls was booked for a yellow card, shortly after the Arena foul on McDonald in the 63rd minute, and Lavender was carded in the 45th for a dangerous tackle. The Riverhounds outshot the Chaos 12 to 1. While the Hounds had three corners, the Chaos didn’t have any. Chaos goalkeeper Teepen came up with three saves, while Hulings only made 1.
The Riverhounds will now face the Tampa Bay Rowdies at Highmark Stadium next Wednnesday, May 27 in the third round of the Open Cup.
West Virginia Chaos
10' · Rob Vincent (Kevin Kerr)  11' · Lebo Moloto  87' · Kevin Kerr (Rob Vincent)