Charleston sits but Hounds break through, 1-0

The Riverhounds have hardly struggled scoring goals over the last several weeks of play, but they played themselves into a 0-0 draw one Saturday ago and went nearly unrewarded last night.

"Nearly unrewarded" being the important part there.

This effort, a 1-0 win over Charleston to extend the home unbeaten streak to 23 games, felt like it could have been 4-0 to the home team. Unlike last week's draw with Louisville City FC, the Hounds pressed, controlled the pace of play, got quality chances, didn't pointlessly send balls upfield and -- most importantly -- they scored.

For a while, it looked like they may not, but not for a lack of trying. The Hounds just had the appearance of being a bit snake bitten, and Kenardo Forbes agreed when I asked.

"Yeah, you have to think that," Forbes said through a smile. "It's just Charleston, it's going to be very difficult. I'm just happy we got a good amount of chances against Charleston because normally that's not the case."

He seemed plenty happy to flip the result on last year's meeting at home as well.

"Over the years, Charleston always, come in here and sit on us. Last year, they sit on us and were able to get a last minute goal and beat us 1-0. We get the goal this year, so it's good for us."

Two of the Hounds' best chances came in the first half, both in the penalty area. The first on the foot of Kevin Kerr, who had as much freedom to roam in this game as I've seen during his time with the Hounds.

On this chance, Kerr found his way inside the 18-yard box with a lot of space. It turned out to be too much space, Kerr went for an extra pair of touches -- perhaps aiming to be a bit too perfect to open scoring -- and ended up allowing the space to close before firing off of Charleston defender Leland Archer's foot.

Minutes later, Steevan Dos Santos suffered the same fate, a blocked shot. Dos Santos had a bit of space to fire on frame or whip a ball across the box, took an extra touch and ended up putting a ball into the foot of Archer's center back partner, Jarad van Schaik.

I asked Dos Santos about those chances after the match and if they were, indeed, trying to be a bit too perfect. He was happy to say it was Charleston being hungry and defending well, and not so much overcomplicating their own game.

"Charleston is fighting for playoffs as well," he told me. "We knew that they would come here and try to get something today. They did defend well and gave us problems to bring them down. I'm happy because I got the end of one, and that was enough to get the three points."

It ended up being Dos Santos who finally cracked Charleston's efforts by punctuating a nice buildup in the 69th minute. Forbes found the big man on a low, driven cross which Dos Santos drove past Charleston keeper Phil Breno and into the back of the net.

It was a particularly rewarding sequence coming minutes after Neco Brett headed the chance of the game, to that point, wide after Breno set him up with a ball punched right to him in the penalty area. If that one didn't fall the Hounds' way, you had to wonder if any would.

Perhaps it was the ball in that did the work for the goal, though. Charleston is very good in the air, defends well ... let's just hear it from Bob Lilley:

Quite a different sound bite from the manager than following last week's draw. And it's always great to hear the techniques from the training ground being successfully applied to the weekend's match.

The Hounds play Saturday at Nashville on Saturday, the first of five games they'll play over a two week span. It's going to be a grind.


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