Lack of offense defines another Riverhounds defeat

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If there was any silver lining to the Riverhounds' latest loss in an increasingly hopeless 2014 season, it's that by the end of their 1-0 defeat against Dayton Saturday at Highmark Stadium, there weren't many fans left to see it.

A 50-minute weather delay early in the second half thinned the crowd, and the Riverhounds' play didn't exactly entice fans to come back from their cars.

As has been all too common this season, a defensive lapse cost the Riverhounds (1-8-5) in the 17th minute. Guilherme Felix took a quick free kick for Dayton (3-10-2) just inside the halfway line, and fed a perfect ball forward to a streaking Eli Garner.

Garner corralled the ball just outside the 18-yard box, deftly stepped around Riverhounds goalkeeper Hunter Gilstrap, charging out of his net, and slotted it away for a 1-0 Dutch Lions lead.

The Riverhounds also had their chances in the opening 45 minutes, but couldn't find the back of the net on any of them.

In the fourth minute, Danny Earls fired off a rocket from just outside the box that caromed off the right post. In the 40th minute, Joseph Ngwenya's close-range shot was eaten up by Dayton goalkeeper Matt Williams after Ngwenya had taken a nice feed from Jose Angulo to get free near the left post.

Rain started to fall around halftime, and just a few minutes after the teams had come back form the locker rooms, lightning was seen around Highmark Stadium, forcing referee Jeff Forward to halt play in the 49th minute.

The teams came back out just under an hour later to a significantly reduced crowd, and the Riverhounds couldn't find the inspiration to get an equalizer as the rain continued to fall.

They came closest in the 90th minute, when Angulo's header sailed just over the crossbar.

From an attacking perspective, the Riverhounds' problem Saturday night wasn't much different than it has been all season. They moved the ball well enough through midfield, but struggled to find one last pass or shot in the attacking zone that would result in a goal.

The loss kept the Riverhounds in last place in USL Pro, where they've been all season. The Dutch Lions came into the match just one place and three points ahead of the Riverhounds in the standings, but now that gap has ballooned to six.

The two teams will face off again Tuesday night in Dayton as the Riverhounds continue to search for some semblance of hope as the 2014 season crawls into its latter stages.

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


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