901 FC Returns to the Pitch Next Saturday at AutoZone Park
Memphis 901 FC opened its USL Championship season on a chilly Saturday night at AutoZone Park and found itself fighting an uphill battle for most of the match. As a result, the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC posted a 3-0 victory.
901 FC was attempting to earn its first win over Pittsburgh in three career meetings, but being forced to play a man down for more than 60 minutes proved too much to overcome.
Pittsburgh got goals from Dane Kelly, Russell Cicerone and Albert Dikwa to earn the victory. Kelly’s goal was the 100th of career.
Memphis defender Graham Smith was sent off in the 33rd minute of the first half after picking up his second yellow card. He earned a red card ejection and 901 FC had to change its game plan.
“I told the guys I’m proud of the effort, I’m proud of the attitude,” said 901 FC coach Ben Pirmann. “The big message all week, and for a couple of weeks, was we (didn’t want to) beat ourselves. Unfortunately, we did not do that.”
Pittsburgh was able to push across a first-half goal when Dane Kelly settled a through ball from Alexander Dixon and slotted it underneath the outstretched arm of goalkeeper Trey Muse at close range. The goal came in the third minute of stoppage time for a 1-0 lead. Kelly, in his 11th season, became the first player in league history to reach 100 career goals.
Memphis missed its best first-half scoring opportunity in the 28th minute when Phillip Goodrum’s penalty try was kick-saved by a diving Chris Vosvick.
The Riverhounds added their second goal at the 63’ as Cicerone scored on an assist from Kelly, who redirected a corner kick. Their final goal came in the 75’ when Dikwa settled a ball in front of the goal, turned a blasted a shot inside the post.
“There were three big incidents,” Pirmann said. “We miss a (penalty kick), we go down a man and then a goofy, goofy goal right before halftime. And it changed everything. In the second half, I thought we were brilliant. We had chances, we had shots.”
901 FC forward Derek Dodson said the team never could recover from its misfortune.
“Unfortunately, we couldn’t tilt that momentum in our favor with a goal,” Dodson said. “And, obviously, giving up a goal in stoppage time in the first half gave them a good boost going into halftime.”
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- Memphis 901 FC dropped to 0-3 against Pittsburgh. The previous two losses came during the 2019 season (4-0, 1-0).
- Forward David Egbo, on loan from the Vancouver Whitecaps FC, did not play. He was the ninth overall pick by the Whitecaps in the 2021 MLS SuperDraft and spent the 2021 season on loan to Phoenix Rising FC.
- Goalkeeper John Berner, a former MLS backup with the Colorado Rapids, did not play because of an achilles injury
- Memphis 901 FC dropped to 0-4 in season openers.
- Pittsburgh goalie Chase Vosvick had to stop only five shots to earn his first career clean sheet.