Early goal against? No problem for sizzling Hounds


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Neco Brett (9) challenges Loudoun United FC during the Hounds' 2-1 win in Leesburg, Va. – LOUDOUN UNITED FC

Let's start with a screenshot:


See that? Right there at the top? Yep, that's the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, all 61 points of them, sitting atop the USL Eastern Conference standings. Not tied for first. Sole possession.

This distinction was earned after taking out Loudoun United FC, 2-1, Tuesday night in Leesburg, Va., the Hounds' third-straight win and sixth in their last eight. Those other two in the last eight? Draws.

This squad is r-o-l-l-i-n-g.

Perhaps no statistic or metric, however, can compare to this from Hounds head coach Bob Lilley after the match:

"It was an important three points," Lilley said. "I'm proud of the guys. They had a lot of travel and a lot of wear and tear the past 10 days or so."

That's Lilley, normally critical, win or lose, basking just a bit in the joy of first place. He gave full credit to his club and acknowledged their recent success. It seems like a small thing, but for Lilley, it isn't. That's a big deal.

And Tuesday night at Segra Field, that praise was earned by these Hounds. They fell behind in the 52nd minute when Kyle Murphy snuck one past Kyle Morton, but the lead was short-lived.

Kenardo Forbes to Anthony Velarde to Neco Brett for the finish. That's a beauty. It came just five minutes after Murphy's goal, too, giving Loudoun United FC no time at all to charge up any momentum. The Hounds stole it away, then they stole the lead outright in the 62nd minute:

That's just Joe Greenspan stuff, converting off the corner kick and giving the Hounds the edge. From there, they did not allow another shot on goal by Loudoun United FC.

That'll work.

The Hounds now have three games remaining in the regular season. They'll take on No. 13 Atlanta United 2 Saturday, Oct. 5, at Highmark Stadium, then they close with back-to-back road matchups. First, they'll face No. 9 Saint Louis FC, and they'll close against No. 10 Birmingham Legion FC.

• With Murphy's goal for Loudoun United FC, the Hounds' shutout streak came to an end. They had gone 698 minutes without allowing a goal, the second-longest shutout streak in USL Championship history. Not bad.

• The Hounds dominated both total shots (18 to four) and shots on target (nine to one). Credit Loudoun United FC's Calle Brown and his seven saves for keeping this one close.

• Saturday's regular-season home finale is Fan Appreciation Night at Highmark Stadium. The first 2,000 fans through the gates will receive a free "Kick for Cancer" shirt, courtesy of Allegheny Health Network. Tickets for that match can be purchased right here.

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