Riverhounds' elusive first victory remains top priority

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For all the excitement that accompanied the beginning of the Riverhounds season and the opening of Highmark Stadium, the results haven't quite matched the hype.

After playing to a 0-0 tie in the opener at Richmond, the Riverhounds (0-2-1) dropped a heartbreaker in their much-celebrated home opener against Harrisburg, and lost at Dayton, 2-1, last weekend on a goal in stoppage time.

The team will head into two games this weekend looking to turn things around and earn its first win this season.

"It's upsetting to lose both those games late," Riverhounds defender and captain Rich Costanzo said. "We don't want that to be our identity, that's for sure. We want to be a team that finishes out a full game and doesn't have those mental lapses at the end.

"It was frustrating, it was tough, but I think we can move on from there. We've been taking the necessary approach to prevent that and making sure our fitness is up and our focus is on for the whole 90 minutes plus extra time."

The Riverhounds will face Charlotte tonight, then visit Charleston Saturday.

Riverhounds coach Justin Evans said he drilled his team in practice this week on staying mentally focused. In training, the team has worked on scenarios of being up a goal or down a goal and how to adjust.

"Really, I think we're a more resilient team than we've shown," Evans said. "So we just need that competition to transfer over. We're resilient. We'll bounce back. The guys' attitude from even two losses in a row has been great. Nothing's really changed for us."

Defender Matt Dallman, who joined the team last season, said one of the biggest differences this year was depth.

The Riverhounds added several key players in the offseason, some of whom have already fit into key roles. Forward Jhonny Arteaga, midfielder Michael Seamon and defender Andrew Marshall have played all three games. Jose Angulo and Kevin Kerr, who have scored the only two goals, are both new additions.

"I just think right now we're finding our stride," Angulo said. "The first couple of games we were just finding out who we are. I think this week of training has been tough. I've got a good feeling about this weekend. I think we're finally finding what we're about."

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Sam Werner: swerner@post-gazette.com and Twitter @SWernerPG.


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