UNCC Transamerica Field, Charlotte, NC
Game Conditions: Humid, overcast, 84° at game time, rain began at halftime and continued through the end of the game.
1 GK Richard Goddard 0 GK Randy Dedini
2 D Ben Johnson 5 D Ricardo Iribarren
4 D Nate Watkins 6 M Joey Worthen
5 D Kevin O'Brien 7 M Henry Gutierrez
7 M Leo Gajardo 8 D Mario Gori
9 M Andy Guasteferro 9 F Jeff Houser
10 F Caleb Norkus 11 M Brian Johnson
12 F Marcelo Caro 12 M Michael Green
14 D Roger Groome 13 F David Flavius
18 M Dustin Swinehart 14 M Matt Chulis
23 M Andy McDermott 20 D Jaman Tripoli
The Eagles and the Riverhounds struggled through the first 45 minutes of play. Neither team could mount a consistent offense or get into any kind of rhythm. Possession was pretty even with Charlotte having the better opportunities even though the statistics at half time showed Pittsburgh with more shots on goal. Pittsburgh seemed to be trying to intimidate the Eagles with overly aggressive play, but it is wasted effort as the Eagles are used to that. The Eagles started two fairly new players tonight, Roger Groome as defender in place of injured team captain Hugo Galeano and Marcelo Caro at forward. This may account for some of the problems the Eagles had early in the game. Pittsburgh was coming off a two-week layoff and recently named a new head coach. This could certainly be the cause of their problems on the field. Rain started to fall just before halftime and continued throughout the game. The field was slippery in spots (primarily the goal areas) but overall the field conditions remained pretty good.
The Eagles celebrated their 10th year anniversary at halftime. Several former Eagle players and staff were on hand and were recognized.
The second half was better played, especially by the Eagles even though they struggled to score and had several defensive lapses. Six minutes into the 2nd half, the Hounds had their first possession of the half and it led to a weather related goal. The Hounds Gori played a long ball to Worthen who centered the ball into the Charlotte area. Normally, any a-league goalkeeper would swallow up this ball. However, Eagle goalkeeper Goddard slipped as he made his move on the ball. It rolled just past his outstretched hands to David Flavius who easily tapped it into the net. It's unfortunate that the Eagles gave up that kind of goal, but Pittsburgh was playing under the same weather conditions and was able to get the score. Charlotte continued to dominate possession and pressure the Riverhounds defense, but could not break through with a goal. In minute 71, Pittsburgh got a gift from the referee when Flavius took both hands and shoved an Eagle defender down in order to clear his path to the goal. He then easily beat Goddard for his 2nd goal of the night (his team-leading 7th of the season).
The Eagles didn't give up and Pittsburgh's rough play started to catch up with them. In the 76th minute, Riverhounds defenders Tripoli and Iribarren tackled Swinehart in the penalty area. There was great protest from the Hounds, but it was such an obvious call the referee had no option but to award the penalty. Andy McDermott calmly drove the ball past Dedini (after the referee forced Worthen to move from the spot of the kick) and Charlotte pulled back into the game.
One minute later, Pittsburgh received another gift. Charlotte defender Groome made a decent stop and Flavius took a dive and was awarded a penalty kick. For some reason, Pittsburgh chose to have defender Iribarren take the penalty kick. This came back to haunt them when Iribarren pushed the shot wide and it bounced off the right post and out of bounds. Goddard had guessed correctly and was in good position to block the shot, but Iribarren saved him the trouble.
This miss seemed to spark the Eagles, as they dominated play from that point on. Pittsburgh dropped back on defense and didn't seem to look for offensive opportunities the remainder of regulation. Charlotte's pressure and the Hounds aggressive play led to the decisive play of the game. In stoppage time, after every delaying tactic Pittsburgh could think of had failed, Swinehart was again mauled just outside the penalty area. This was clearly the last opportunity for Charlotte to pull even and they made the most of it. Charlotte lined up for the free kick on the left side of the penalty area. Rather than drive the ball into the wall, the Eagles chose to pass it to a wide-open Swinehart in the middle of the field. It was clearly a Pittsburgh defensive error that left YT that open. Dustin made the most of the opportunity and drilled a perfect 22-yard shot past a diving Dedini for the tie and overtime.
There was a great deal of discussion about the length of the stoppage time. It was announced as 3 minutes, but did seem to go longer than that. Pittsburgh was so blatant in its delaying tactics, especially late in the game and during stoppage, that the referee had no choice but to extend the time. Several Pittsburgh players were rolling around on the field faking injury and taking more than maximum time to put the ball into play on throw-ins and free kicks. One player was literally drug off the field by teammates at the insistence of the referee. He was unable to stand and walk four feet off the field. Immediately after play resumed, he jumped to his feet and was waived back in. It was pathetic.
In the first overtime, Pittsburgh was clearly playing for the tie. They mounted no offensive pressure whatsoever and were content to sit back and let the Eagles apply constant pressure. The Eagles had some good chances to score in the first overtime but could not finish. The best opportunity came in the 98th minute when a Swinehart cross led to a Coggins header that was just over the top post.
The Eagles continued to apply constant offensive pressure in the shortened second overtime. However, this time the Eagles were able to finish. Gomez took the ball at midfield and made an incredible run up the left side. Pittsburgh defenders were unable to stop him and he made a turn for the goal and fired a bullet past a diving Dedini. It was an incredible play. While the Eagles celebrated their first come-from-behind victory of the season, the Hounds were understandably dejected. They were up 2 - 0 with 15 minutes to play and couldn't hold on for the win. The Eagles have lost their share of close games, so we know how it feels.
Min. 1 - Very rough foul by Pittsburgh (Gori) right at the start, Swinehart taken down, free kick Charlotte.
Min. 2 - Another Pittsburgh foul about 20 yards out, free kick Charlotte.
Min. 8 - Another hard foul by Pittsburgh, 25 yards out, free kick Charlotte.
Min. 10 - Charlotte foul by Caro even though a Pittsburgh player threw him to the ground.
Min. 15 - Good run up right side by Ben Johnson who centered the ball well, but no one was there for Charlotte. Easy defensive play for the Hounds.
Min. 16 - Quick counter by Pittsburgh after the run by Johnson, play well set up but a shot went way wide. This was Pittsburgh's first really good scoring opportunity of the night. They could have been a little more patient and gotten off a better shot.
Min. 20 - Hounds mount another attack and get decent shot on goal, which went well over the top of the goal.
Min. 22 - Hard foul by Andy McD at midfield.
Min. 23 - Foul by Pittsburgh - long pass by Eagles and Hounds defender climbed all over Eagle's player (Norkus) back. Free kick for Charlotte from 25 yards.
Min. 23 - Free kick taken by Andy McD - decent pass in but blocked out by Pittsburgh, Charlotte maintains possession.
Min. 24 - Another decent opportunity for the Eagles - ball centered in front of goal - Caleb goes for the header but Dedini goes up and over him to stop the play. Good play by Pittsburgh goalkeeper.
Min. 24 - Good Pittsburgh counter attack leads to throw in - Eagles defense very sloppy and Hounds get off good shot - stopped by Goddard.
Min. 31 - Very cheap foul by Pittsburgh defended - elbowed Swinehart in the face. This should have been the first caution of the night, but the official keeps the card in his pocket. Charlotte free kick about 20 yards out on the right.
Min. 35 - Gajardo of Eagles hit in the face by Pittsburgh player at mid-field, foul called on him.
Min.36 - Eagles have good scoring chance about 15 yards out, Hounds defender runs and throws himself into several players taking down Swinehart, Norkus and defender Gori. Foul called on Eagles and Gori is injured. While Norkus was still on the ground, another Pittsburgh player kicked the ball at him striking him in the face. No reaction from the official who was standing there watching the whole play.
Min. 39 - Best scoring chance of the night thus far for the Eagles. Gus made a great run up the right side, faking a defender out so badly he fell on his butt, great center just barely too high for a Swinehart header. That should have been a goal for the Eagles. Great play.
Min. 43 - Two consecutive fouls on the Eagles. The first was a good call, but the second was not. Free kick for Pittsburgh about 35 yards out. Great shot by Hounds tipped up and over by Goddard.
Min. 44 - It starts to rain.
Min. 44 - Gajardo receives yellow card. The ref. is making a very big deal out of issuing the caution. After all the rough play by Pittsburgh this half, it seems silly to make a big deal out of what was a minor foul.
2 minutes of stoppage time added.
At halftime: Score-Eagles 0 -0 Pittsburgh. Eagles shots-4, Pittsburgh shots-7.
No substitutions for either team during halftime. Rain continues to fall, very hard at times.
Min. 51 - Pittsburgh's first meaningful possession of the 2nd half results in a goal directly related to the weather. A routine center by Pittsburgh, Goddard makes a move to catch the ball and falls down. The ball rolls through to Flavius who easily puts the ball in the net. Pittsburgh up 1- 0.
Min. 53 - Gurierrez from Pittsburgh finally issued a yellow card.
Min. 54 - Swinehart mauled in the box, no call from the official.
Min. 58 - Tripoli finally called for shoving YT - free kick for Charlotte just outside the box.
Min. 59 - Charlotte substitution- Jacob Coggins on for Marcelo Caro.
Min. 63 - Another good opportunity for the Eagles. Ball is centered by Swinehart but cleared on a good defensive play. The missed opportunities are starting to add up.
Min. 66 - Good opportunity for Eagles, but Swinehart is assaulted in the box with no call. The crowd can't believe there is no call.
Min. 68 - Pittsburgh substitution - Potteiger on for Gutierrez.
Min. 70 - Pittsburgh substitution - Karn on for Houser.
Min. 71 - Pittsburgh player uses both hands to shove an Eagles defender out of the way, goes in to score. Pittsburgh 2 - 0.
Min. 75 - GOAL! Finally a penalty kick for Charlotte. Swinehart was tackled in the box. Kick taken by Andy McD and is successful. Score Pittsburgh 2 - 1 over the Eagles.
Min. 76 - Eagles substitution - Calderson on for And McD.
Min. 77 - Penalty kick for Pittsburgh. Flavius takes a dive after being bumped by defender (Groome). Iribarren lines up for the kick and pushes it wide right. Hounds could have wrapped up the win and 5 points with that goal, but this game isn't over.
Min. 78 - Charlotte substitution - Gomez on for Norkus.
Pittsburgh is constantly delaying - it is so obvious that only a ref. could miss it.
Eagles applying constant pressure - good scoring chances in minutes 85 and 86.
Min. 87 - Dedini way off his line, Swinehart with an excellent chance about 17 yards out for an up and over chip shot, but he puts it just wide right. YT doesn't miss many of those. This may not be the Eagles night.
3 minutes of stoppage time added.
Min. 90 - Pittsburgh player (again) on the ground to delay a restart. He is literally drug off the field. Ref finally issues a yellow to Pittsburgh for delay.
Min. 90 - Pittsburgh substitution - Hgon on for Potteiger.
Min. 90 - Foul on Pittsburgh just outside the box. Free kick for the Eagles.
Min. 90 - GOAL!!!!! The Eagles Calderson took the free kick and passed it to a wide-open Swinehart just to the right of the wall and YT drilled the shot. Eagles tie the game in the closing seconds of regulation.
Worthen for Pittsburgh throws the ball at and hits the referee as he walks off the field. Another fine example of sportsmanship.
Score at end of regulation: Charlotte 2 -2 Pittsburgh. Eagles shots (in second half)-9 , Pittsburgh shots-4.
Min. 94 - Charlotte substitution - Allen in for Guastaferro.
Min. 94 - Pittsburgh substitution - Garry in for Iribarren.
Min. 95 - Yellow card on Pittsburgh - free kick for Charlotte from 19 yards.
Min. 96 - Sloppy defense for Charlotte - good chance for the Hounds, shot from about 17 yards is stopped by Goddard.
Min. 97 - Yellow card to Worthen for delay. Well deserved and overdue.
Min. 98 - Great chance for the Eagles as the ball is centered well and Coggins header just barely goes over the top.
Score still 2 -2 at end of 1OT. Shots on goal in 1OT: Charlotte -2, Pittsburgh-1 .
Rain continues to fall.
Min. 102 - Handball called on Mouw of the Eagles about 28 yards out. Poor call but good chance for Pittsburgh. Free kick is driven into the wall after the referee moved them back about 14 yards. Rebound shot is driven well over the top of the goal.
Min. 104 - Golden Goal!!!!!!!! Gomez breaks down the left side of the Pittsburgh defense who can't seem to catch up with him. He gets an open opportunity and makes the most of it. Eagles win!
Shots on goal in 2OT: Charlotte -1, Pittsburgh-2.
Final: Charlotte 3 - 2 Pittsburgh. Total shots: Charlotte -14, Pittsburgh-13.
Scoring 1 2 1OT 2OT Final
Charlotte 0 2 0 1 3
Pittsburgh 0 2 0 0 2
Shots 1 2 1OT 2OT Final
Charlotte 2 9 2 1 14
Pittsburgh 6 4 1 2 13
Saves 1 2 1OT 2OT Final
Charlotte 4 1 1 0 6
Pittsburgh 1 2 0 0 3
Fouls 1 2 1OT 2OT Final
Charlotte 8 6 2 0 16
Pittsburgh 9 10 1 1 21
Offsides 1 2 1OT 2OT Final
Charlotte 0 2 0 0 2
Pittsburgh 0 1 0 0 1
Corners 1 2 1OT 2OT Final
Charlotte 2 6 0 0 8
Pittsburgh 4 2 0 0 6
Min. 57 Gutierrez Pittsburgh
Min. 88 Johnson Pittsburgh
Min. 95 Green Pittsburgh
Min. ? Gajardo Charlotte
Min. ? Watkins Charlotte
Team Minute Player In Player Out
Charlotte 59th 20 Jacob Coggins 12 Marcelo Caro
Pittsburgh 68th 21 Derek Potteiger 7 Henry Gutierrez
Pittsburgh 70th 2 Phil Karn 9 Jeff Houser
Charlotte 72nd 17 Robbie Mouw 2 Ben Johnson
Charlotte 75th 8 Carlos Calderson 23 Andy McDermott
Charlotte 78th 16 Jose Gomez 10 Caleb Norkus
Pittsburgh 87th 16 Kevin Alvero 14 Matt Chulis
Pittsburgh 90th 19 Ali Ngon 21 Derek Potteiger
Pittsburgh 94th 22 Ben Garry 5 Ricardo Iribarren
Charlotte 94th 3 Chris Allen 9 Andy Guastaferro
EAGLEMAN OF THE MATCH- The MAN with the GOLDEN TOUCH - ROB MOUW