Greenspan, Hounds rise above Memphis


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Thomas Vancaeyezeele sizes up Memphis' Pierre Da Silva Tuesday night. - MEMPHIS 901 FC

Joe Greenspan's primary responsibility for the Riverhounds is to organize and stabilize their back line ... right up until he's tasked with rising above the pack on attacking corner kicks.

So consider it something of a hat trick that, Tuesday night in Memphis, Tenn., he scored the match's lone goal in the Hounds' 1-0 victory over Memphis 901 FC, while also leading the match with six clearances and supporting Austin Pack's two-save clean sheet.

Oh, and his side officially clinched a USL playoff berth. The Hounds' 15-4-10 record and 55 points are tied with fourth-place FC Nashville in the Eastern Conference, though the former has a game in hand on the latter. The top four teams in the East clinch home field for the first round.

"It's a nice accomplishment to make the playoffs again," Bob Lilley told reporters at AutoZone Park. "The biggest key for us today was that we showed composure. If we didn't have that patience or composure we needed, we may not have had the energy to get that game to the finish line."

That was highlighted in the 15th minute when Greenspan, assuming his usual spot in the box on a corner, positioned well for pristine service by Robbie Mertz and leaped high above Memphis' Josh Morton -- at 6-6, Greenspan had a 4-inch advantage -- and headed it behind Jay Caldwell, the helpless keeper:

That was Greenspan's third goal of the season, all delivered precisely the same way. It also was Mertz's fourth assist, one off Ryan James' team lead.

The first half saw three total shots in the match, but the second opened up, with Memphis attempting seven to the Hounds' four.

"The key tonight was a good first half," Lilley said. "The second half, I would've liked to be more ambitious to get the second goal sooner. I thought we defended well, but I think we could've been more assertive to try to get a second goal. It was a good road performance, and I'm happy for them."

The Hounds are on a 4-0-2 roll in which they haven't given up a goal. That includes securing four of six points on this unusual Tennessee trip that brought a rare two matches in four days. The other was a scoreless draw at FC Nashville this past Saturday.

Their next match is this coming Saturday against Indianapolis (17-6-5), back at Highmark Stadium. Kickoff is 7:05 p.m. I'll be there.

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