Vicent and Virgara Lead Offense; Rissler Backstops Defense
Pittsburgh, Cleveland, add a sport and mix, the result will be another game in the rivalry between the cities. The first edition of the pairing played in the 2018 NPSL season saw both teams create chances and both defenses defend gallantly.
Joaquin Vicent tallied the opening goal of the match in his first start of the season. The Regiment midfielder beat Cleveland keeper Mikal Outcalt off an Anthony Virgara pass in the third minute. The scoring play finished the Regiment’s first corner attempt of the match. The corner earned by Virgara when he intercepted a pass between Cleveland backliners and Coletun Long intervened to stop a breakaway by clearing the ball over the end line.
Three minutes later Antonio Manfut was fouled by Mikel Ubeda in the FPR area. The referee pointed to the spot and it appeared Cleveland SC would knot the score. The Red Coats’ Scott Rissler had other ideas making a quick dive to his right to block Manfut’s shot.
The two teams swapped opportunities during the run of play and through set pieces without a chance in score until another FPR set piece resulted in the second Pittsburgh goal. Nick Kolarac served the ball to the back post where Matt McDyer headed it back across goal for Virgara’s first goal of the match in the 23rd minute. The scoring opportunity was set up when Virgara drew a foul just outside the CSC area to Outcalt’s right.
Ian Larson found an opening down the left side evading the FPR defense to face Rissler 1v1. The Red Coats keeper snuffed out the threat.
Cleveland found another opportunity minutes later. Manfut found some space and drill a shot off Rissler’s left post. With Larson lurking, Ryan Landry was able to play the ball off Larson out of play for a goal kick to quiet the threat.
FPR quickly attacked downfield to earn a corner. As Ubeda’s header off Godinho’s corner was cleared Manfut fouled Jake Gratzer to set up another set piece for the Regiment. Kolarac’s restart was a 30-yard drive just over the Cleveland goal.
In the 42 minute, Mike Derezic served a corner into area. The Regiment cleared it away but not out of the zone. Admir Suljevic lined up a shot that Ubeda stepped in front of for a block.
In the waning moments of regulation, Vinny Bell found space in front of the Regiment goal but headed the ball over the goal. The Cleveland forward had been contained prior to that opportunity.
The half ended with the Pittsburgh side holding a 2-0 lead.
As the two teams settled in for the second half, play was a bit ragged. Long was issued a caution in the 48th. Minutes later Lucas Canineu was fouled by Chris Derezic. FPR was unable to take advantage of either opportunity to notch a third goal.
In the 54th minute, Canineu was unable to continue due to a hip injury resulting from the earlier foul. Mike Horgan entered the match to replace the crafty winger.
Following a couple of Cleveland chances that Rissler easily collected, the Godinho to McDyer to Virgara corner combination resulted in the third Regiment goal in the 56th minute.
“I found space in front of their keeper and Matt played a nice ball back to me off the corner,” Virgara said of his second goal.
In the 64th minute CSC earned a corner and in the scrum following the serve into the box a deflected shot set up a second Cleveland corner. Derezic’s second serve to the back post found an open Declan McGivern whose header back across the box found neither the goal or a teammate.
While the Regiment led 3-0 it didn’t result in altering their attack. In the 66th Landry raced down the right side and turned toward goal before unleashing a cross meant for Virgara. CSC’s backline got just enough of it enable Outcalt to snag it to stuff the chance. In the 74th Virgara attempted a similar cross to Godinho from the left side of the attack with the central defenders able to intercept the pass.
Cleveland wasn’t giving up. In the 77th, Bell worked free to unleash a drive from 15 yards. Ubeda blocked the attempt and the ball was played out for a corner. Derezic sent the ball into the area but Landry swept it upfield away from danger.
In the closing 10 minutes Cleveland attempted to play the ball over the top to Bell on a couple of occasions only to have Rissler get to the ball first.
In the 84th minute, Virgara was whistled for a swipe at the ball that caught Derezic’s ankle.
In stoppage time, the right side of the FPR backline lapsed and Danny Ruple found himself breaking toward Rissler and the Regiment goal. Ruple was able to do something his teammates hadn’t; he got the ball past Rissler slotting it into the goal to spoil the clean sheet.
“It was a good win,” said Regiment head coach John Kowalski of his team improving to 4-0-0. “Three points on the road is always good.”
The Regiment host Rochester on Tuesday evening at 7:00 pm. The game will be played at Slippery Rock University in Thompson-Mihalik Stadium.
Contributor: Tim McCoy/Fort Pitt Regiment
Photo Credit: Tim McCoy/Fort Pitt Regiment