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Union II struggles in first half in another shutout loss to Pittsburgh

Steevan Dos Santos and Kenardo Forbes were again thorns in the side of the U2 defense

Pittsburgh Riverhounds

Steevan Dos Santos and Kenardo Forbes picked up right where they left off two weeks ago in Chester and again punished the Philadelphia Union II back line with early goals the injury-depleted squad was unable to overcome in a 4-0 loss at a fan-less Highmark Stadium Saturday night.

Dos Santos and Forbes combined for a pair of goals to stretch the lead to 6-0 in their win over Union II on July 18 at Subaru Park and did the same 22 minutes in Saturday when Forbes ran onto a pass into the box and crossed it to Dos Santos for the header past Mitch Budler.

Forbes was the provider again — and set a new league record for career assists — 14 minutes later when he set up Thomas Vancaeyezeele off a corner to make it 2-0. Dos Santos then made it four goals in his last two games against U2 when he had a great reaction with the outside of his foot on an errant pass out of the back after miscommunication between Jamoi Topey and Budler.

Down 3-0 at halftime, U2 head coach Sven Gartung made three changes, bringing in academy left back Anton Sorenson for his USL Championship debut along with Paxten Aaronson and Jack Jasinski.

After generating only one shot attempt from near midfield by Topey in the first half, the second half was much more productive going forward.

Steve Kingue had three shots after coming in off the bench, Aaronson had a good look set up by Danny Flores on a shot attempt that soared over the bar and Sorenson also had a shot off a strong run into the box and toe poke that forced a diving Tomas Gomez save after his first shot attempt was blocked. Center back Ben Ofeimu was the only other starter to register a shot on goal on the night.

The Riverhounds did a similar defensive job in the previous meeting, limiting the Union II forwards to no shots on goal.

A volley in the box from Ryan James in the 65th minute made it 4-0 and 10-0 in favor of Pittsburgh in the first two of three meetings between the two teams in the shortened USL Championship season. Union II’s last game will be played back at Highmark Stadium on October 3.

Weather delayed the game for about a half hour right as the Union II offense was picking up and the final minutes were mostly uneventful after the delay.

Though overall it was another frustrating night for Union II, both Quinn Sullivan and Brandan Craig earned their first USL Championship starts and Patrick Bohui made his first appearance of 2020 off the bench.

No five games into the season, Union II has just one point and sits at the bottom of the Group F standings with 11 games to go.

The team will return home to face New York Red Bulls II on Wednesday night at 5 p.m.

LINEUPS

Philadelphia Union II: Mitchell Budler; Dante Huckaby, Jamoi Topey (Anton Sorenson, 45’), Ben Ofeimu, Brandan Craig (Jack Jasinski 45’); Jack McGlynn, Danny Flores, Axel Picazo (Patrick Bohui, 67’), David Rabadan (Steve Kingue, 67’); Selmir Miscic, Quinn Sullivan (Paxten Aaronson, 45’)

Substitutes not used: Ben Martino

Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC: Tomas Gomez; Ryan James, Thomas Vancaeyezeele, Skyler Thomas, Jordan Dover; Robbie Metz (Lukas Fernandes, 78’), Kenardo Forbes (Dakota Barnathan, 69’), Dani Rovira, Danny Griffin; Roppapa Mensah (Anthony Velarde, 54’), Steevan Dos Santos (Mark Forrest, 69’)

Substitutes not used: Danny Vitiello, Anthony Mwembia, Hunter Ashworth