The good news: The Riverhounds defeated Hartford Athletic, 4-2, Saturday in Connecticut to move to 8-3-8 and sixth place in the USL Eastern Conference standings.
The bad news: It ... wasn't as pretty as the score indicates.
I'll let Hounds head coach Bob Lilley explain:
"We gave up a lot of chances," Lilley said after the game. "It was a good result. We scored some nice goals, but it was disappointing that we allowed as many chances as we did."
The Hounds did give up a lot of chances — four shots on target, eight total shots and two shots inside the box, to be exact. And the thing about that is this: Hartford Athletic is not a great club.
They're not even a good club. They're dead last in the standings, sitting 18th out of 18 at 3-15-4 on the season. Their 15 losses are three more than the 12 defeats owned by 17th-ranked Atlanta United 2. Their -27 goal differential is 41 — forty one — worse than the Hounds +14 on the year. The Hounds cruised to a 3-1 win over them earlier this year.
I could keep going. But I won't. Point is:
"It was an important win, but I don't think we executed well enough in the second half," Lilley said.
The Hounds were fully expected to win this match, and they did. To climb to sixth in the standings is no small achievement given their hot-and-cold season to this point. The team hasn't quite put it all together yet, and they've settled for draws all too often.
Now, though, the Hounds are 3-1-1 in their last five, a positive sign moving forward. They'll need those wins to continue their ascent. Three points are better than one, and that sixth-place standing is a direct reward for converting some draws into victories. They kept that rolling Saturday.
While the result was far from perfect, a point acknowledged by Lilley, it's a win. That's all that matters for the club as they head back home Saturday, Aug. 3, for a tilt against Memphis 901 FC.
• The Hounds' goals came courtesy of Steevan dos Santos, Anthony Velarde and Neco Brett. That's only three, right? Yep. The fourth goal was an own-goal from Hartford's Kyle Curinga. Whoops.
• The Hounds dominated the first half, taking a 3-0 lead and a 9-2 advantage in shots into the break. Hartford didn't quit, though, and they outscored the Hounds 2-1 in the second frame while also posting the same number of shots (six).
• Possession battle went to the Hounds as well, 52.2 percent to 47.8.
• Next match goes down at 7 p.m. ET Saturday at Highmark Stadium. Get your tickets right here.
Highlights from the Hounds' 4-2 win over Hartford Athletic: