PEORIA, Ariz. (Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014) – A strong second half by Arizona United Soccer Club gave the home side a much-needed 3-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Riverhounds on Saturday night at the Peoria Sports Complex.
Forward Jonathan Top recorded his fifth goal of the season on a beautifully chipped ball from the corner of the box, Jon Okafor recorded his fourth goal, and Brad Stisser hammed home his second goal. Arizona United SC is now tied for ninth in the USL PRO regular-season standings, and sit two points out of a playoff spot with three matches remaining.
Arizona United SC enjoyed a steady first half performance, but were denied a goal by Pittsburgh’s aggressive defense. Head coach Michael Dellorusso made one switch during the halftime break, and brought on Sam Garza for Matt Kassel.
The switch paid off in the 56th minute, when Garza sliced into the box from the right wing, and dribbled through two defenders. The ball took a unfortunate deflection forward, but Garza was able to stretch out his leg and fire a low shot for the far post. Goalkeeper Mike Lisch dove, and was just able to get a hand on the shot, but wasn’t able to clear it. Okafor reacted quickly, and tapped home the loose ball for the opening goal.
Five minutes later, pressure from Top forced a poor Pittsburgh pass to the goalkeeper that was then picked up by Top on the touchline. He dribbled back towards the field of play, stopped, and curled a beautiful shot over Lisch to double Arizona United SC’s lead.
Brad Stisser put the match on ice when he intercepted a Pittsburgh clearance in their own half. He dribbled up the middle of the pitch, pushed the ball to his right and placed a perfect shot into the far post.
In the dying minutes of the match, Pittsburgh pushed and cut away at Arizona United SC’s lead in the 87th minute on a cross-and-header from Rob Vincent to second half substitute Mackenzie Pridham.
Dellorusso gave Arizona native George Malki his professional debut when he brought him on the 90th minute. Malki, along with Paolo DelPiccolo helped Arizona United SC close out the match with the 3-1 victory.
Arizona United SC will now host OKC Energy FC on Friday, August 22 in the final home match at the Peoria Sports Complex this season. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are available at arizonaunited.com/tickets or by calling (623) 594-9606.
-Arizona United Soccer Club Match Report-
Match: Arizona United Soccer Club vs. Pittsburgh Riverhounds
Date: Saturday, August 16, 2014
Competition: USL PRO
Venue: Peoria Sports Complex
Kickoff: 7:30 PM PDT
Weather: Clear, and 101 degrees
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AZ – Jon Okafor – 56
AZ – Jonathan Top – 61
AZ – Brad Stisser – 78
PITT – Mackenzie Pridham (assist: Rob Vincent) – 87
Arizona United SC: Evan Newton, Tyler Ruthven, Widner Saint-Cyr, London Woodberry, Scott Morrison, Paolo DelPiccolo, Matt Kassel (Sam Garza – 46), Joey Dillon, Jon Okafor (Kadeem Dacres – 73), Jonathan Top (George Malki – 90), Long Tan (Brad Stisser – 45)
Did not play: Jacole Turner, Joseph Toby, Jalen Robinson
Pittsburgh Riverhounds: Mike Lisch, Matt Dallman (Miroslav Cabrilo – 85), Andrew Ribeiro, Anthony Arena, Sterling Flunder, Anthony Obodai (Mackenzie Pridham – 64), Kevin Kerr, Rob Vincent, Seth C’deBaca (Jhonny Artega – 71), Jason Johnson, Mike Green
Did not play: Hunter Gilstrap, Brian Fekete