Scoreless draw with Saint Louis FC ‘like a loss’

Joe Greenspan threw an arm around Tobi Adewole, embracing his fellow defender in a downpour, when the final whistle blew. The scene was standard imagery ... well, aside from the rain storm ... following a loss. Except, the Riverhounds didn't lose.

No, the Riverhounds drew Saint Louis FC 0-0 in a lightning-delayed, rain-soaked match under the lights at Highmark Stadium. It was a defensive match filled with rain-influenced miskicks and a few too many balls leaving play as a result.

"I think we need to pass the ball better," Riverhounds coach Bob Lilley said after the draw. "There were more turnovers than we would've liked, we didn't do a good enough job of holding the ball up top."

Lilley's Riverhounds had the slightest edge in possession, leading 50.4 percent to 49.6, but it felt like they pushed more chances into the box and got their looks -- especially in the first half.

That image is a heat map of touches in the first half. It includes both the Riverhounds as well as Saint Louis FC players, with Saint Louis FC's goal being the right side where all that activity took place.

Kevin Kerr and Neco Brett each paced the wings with overlapping runs from Jordan Dover and Ryan James respectively. And, Steevan Dos Santos was a big contributing factor that red blob near the Saint Louis FC net.

One of the chances created in that area came when Dos Santos elevated himself into contact with Saint Louis FC keeper Jake Fenlason, earning one of the Hounds' four yellow cards in the process (that image leads off the gallery at the top of this story).

Most of the Hounds' looks came in that fashion. Playing a ball down a wing, floating it into space and asking Dos Santos to go for the win.

"They did a good job of challenging the first ball in," Lilley said of that playstyle. "That's not easy on Steevan. It's important that he can hold some of those balls and I think Kevin and Neco need to be available at times, and they're not. The front three didn't do a good enough job of getting on the ball."

It certainly got more difficult for the big forward to find and fight for his space after that yellow card at the 40 minute mark.

Regardless, the Hounds played that style right down to the final buzzer, some two minutes past the full 90. The best chances in the evening coming at the tail end of that allotted time... and in the same fashion.

The best of the best came when Christian Volesky mimicked some of the great goals in the last few years and attempted to channel the likes of Olivier Giroud and Henrikh Mkhitaryan with a scorpion kick which would have won the game.

Volesky reached behind him with his right leg, flicked the incoming cross and sent it spinning toward the top left corner of the goal frame. He watched, and Fenlason watched the ball out of his range, as it sailed outside of the woodwork and out for a goal kick.

The Hounds would get another chance, again with a ball sent in, moments later. It looked destined for the head of Dos Santos, but Sam Fink found room to get his head on it first and cut the cross out of danger.

[caption id="attachment_810845" align="aligncenter" width="640"] MATT SUNDAY / DKPS[/caption]

But, the game would end 0-0 and Greenspan would throw his arm around Adewole. It wasn't because they lost. It wasn't that the Hounds had the chances and didn't win. It wasn't that they dominated possession and just couldn't finish. It was that the Hounds didn't get into the game they wanted to play. It was like a loss.

"We just didn't have enough chances to win the game," Kenardo Forbes said after the draw.

"We will just have to learn from it. Next week, we just have to go to work. Work on it for next week and Nashville because dropping a home game is like a loss. We just have to get it right next week."


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