PITTSBURGH — Birthday boy George Davis IV scored twice in the second half Friday night while helping lead Louisville City FC back to beat the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.
A 2-1 victory at Highmark Stadium dashed LouCity’s two-game losing streak and, with a 13-3-6 record, returned the club to first place in the USL’s Eastern Conference standings.
“There’s nothing I’d rather do on my birthday than play a sport I love with some guys I trust and believe in,” Davis said. “This was the result we needed.”
The University of Kentucky product, who turned 29 on Friday, scored in the 56th and 82nd minutes after LouCity went into the half down 1-0. With five goals on the season, Davis ranks second on the team in scoring behind the 14 for Chandler Hoffman, who nearly added to his own total.
Tackled in the box in the 65th minute, Hoffman stepped up for a penalty but saw Pittsburgh keeper Mauricio Vargas dive to his right for the save.
“When you look at what happened tonight when we took the penalty and didn’t get it, but the fight to come back and still keep going, keep going, keep driving and win the game speaks volumes about our guys,” said coach James O’Connor.
LouCity placed six of its eight shots on goal and attempted 10 corners. The Riverhounds, 13th in the USL’s East, didn’t try a single corner and played the final 20 minutes down a man with a player sent off on the penalty.
As Louisville controlled possession in the second half, a number of individual efforts resulted into deep drives toward Pittsburgh’s goal. Finally, LouCity put together a beautiful passage of play when midfielder Aodhan Quinn zipped a pass through the defense and to Davis, who hit the game-winner.
“It’s his birthday today, so it’s nice he got a present,” said Niall McCabe, whose touch also helped lead to Davis’ first goal. “But more importantly, he’s happy he helped the team on top of the individual stuff. I’m glad we got the win. George can celebrate in style now.”
Goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh couldn’t have much helped the only goal allowed by him Friday. A nice, 27th-minute cross landed right at the feet of diving Riverhounds standout Michael Green. But in the 88th minute, Ranjitsingh preserved the LouCity win, coming up big to save a Pittsburgh header that would have equalized.
Louisville City’s 45 points in the USL standings are now one better than the surging New York Red Bulls II, who have played 21 games to LouCity’s 22. FC Cincinnati sits three more points back, also with a game in hang.
O’Connor’s club can extend its lead with a pair of home games next week, first against the Harrisburg City Islanders on Wednesday before playing Saturday against the Rochester Rhinos.
Match: Pittsburgh Riverhounds vs. Louisville City FC
Date: Aug. 5, 2016
Venue: Highmark Stadium
Kickoff: 6:59 p.m.
Weather: 86 degrees, mostly clear
Man of the Match: George Davis IV
Pittsburgh Riverhounds (1, 0, 0)
Louisville City FC (0, 2, 2)
Louisville City FC: 13-Greg Ranjitsingh, 2-Ben Newnam, 24-Kyle Smith, 5-Conor Shanosky (80′ 18-Paco Craig), 15-Sean Reynolds, 4-Aodhan Quinn, 36-Paolo DelPiccolo, 11-Niall McCabe (74′ 9-Cameron Lancaster), 12-Mark-Anthony Kaye (73′ 7-Kadeem Dacres), 22-George Davis IV (85′ 77-Andrew Lubahn), 17-Chandler Hoffman.
Subs not used: 28-Tim Dobrowolski, 6-Tarek Morad, 14-Ilija Ilic.
Head coach: James O’Connor
Pittsburgh Riverhounds: 18-Mauricio Vargas, 25-Marshall Hollingsworth, 33-Ryan Adeleye, 13-Willie Hunt, 8-Michael Green, 5-Danny Earls, 7-Stephen Okai (72′ 9-Zak Boggs), 10-Kevin Kerr, 22-Lebo Moloto (81′ 28-Jack Thompson), 11-Corey Hertzog, 37-Alejandro Aguilar (61′ 31-Nick Thompson).
Subs not used: 1-Hunter Gilstrap, 20-Duwayne Ewart, 14-Alex Harlley, 23-Nick Kolarac.
Head coach: David Brandt
Stats Summary: Pittsburgh / LouCity
Shots: 5 / 8
Saves: 4 / 2
Corner Kicks: 0 / 10
Offside: 0 / 4
Referee: Henrik Karlsson
Assistant Referee 1: Ross Kleinstuber
Assistant Referee 2: Tyler Wyrostek
4th Official: Maxwell Hartman