FOXBOROUGH – Two long Revolution unbeaten streaks came to an end as they fell, 1-0, to the Pittsburgh Riverhounds in the US Open Cup Tuesday night.
The Riverhounds, tied for 10th overall in the USL Championship, capitalized on a turnover as Danny Griffin scored in the 44th minute, then held on to advance to the round of 32.
The Revolution (8-2-3 in all competitions) had a nine-game unbeaten streak snapped and lost in the Open Cup in Foxborough for the first time since going down to the Mid-Michigan Bucks at Foxboro Stadium in 2000.
Griffin, a former Providence College midfielder, finished from a Marc Ybarra feed, the sequence set up as Jozy Altidore and Damian Rivera failed to connect on an attempted give-and-go near the center circle.
In a wide-open first half, the Revolution nearly opened the scoring as Rivera cross was cleared off the line by Burke Fahling, just ahead of Justin Rennicks (32rd). Revolution midfielder Latif Blessing was cautioned (19th) and committed a hard foul on Joseph Farrell (25th), referee Matthew Thompson electing not to issue another card as Farrell received treatment on the field.
Revolution regulars Emmanuel Boateng, Brandon Bye, Carles Gil, and Dave Romney entered in the 63rd minute, but could not break through. Altidore missed high off a Gil feed with the best late Revolution opportunity (77th minute).
This was the Revolution’s first defeat against a USL team since a 3-2 decision in a visit to Louisville City in 2018. The Revolution have compiled a 23-19-5 record (8-2-0 in Foxborough) in the US Open Cup since 1997.
Scenes at the final whistle!#NEvPIT #HOUNDTAHN #USOC2023 pic.twitter.com/RUFlHC0J40— Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC (@RiverhoundsSC) May 10, 2023
Observations from Tuesday’s game:
⋅ Defining moment: In the 57th minute, Giacomo Vrioni took a long ball from Ben Sweat, drew out goalkeeper Jahmali Waite, and bounced a cross in front. But no Revolution teammates read the move and Waite easily recovered.
Difference-maker: Griffin, who grew up playing for Oakwood SC in Connecticut, was quick to react in making a run into the penalty area, then one-timed a low shot past Earl Edwards Jr. Griffin helped set the pace in midfield, and the Riverhounds held their own even after the Revolution brought on Gil.
Tactical: The Revolution’s 4-3-3 formation functioned well, except where it counted — near the goal. The Revolution’s three-forward setup of Altidore, Rennicks, and Vrioni seldom seemed to be on the same page. In the 41st minute, Rennicks broke away off a Jack Panayotou ball, but failed to get off a shot as his cutback pass was easily intercepted. “I don’t think our forwards played very well,” Revolution sporting director/head coach Bruce Arena said. “[Altidore] has a way to go in his fitness. He was obviously exhausted in the second half — we used all our available substitutions and he had to suck it up.”
Statistical analysis: The Revolution were credited with 61 percent possession but only one shot on goal. Altidore had a shot blocked by former Revolution II defender Michael DeShields (12th) and Vrioni’s one-timer from a Gil pass was saved (73rd).
Road ahead: The Revolution, first place in the MLS overall standings, visit Inter Miami and the Philadelphia Union in their next two games, before playing their only league home game of the month, against the Chicago Fire on May 27.
What Arena said: “I think the guys that came in the second half did a good job. It was a poor performance on our part — there’s no excuses. You’ve got to give Pittsburgh a lot of credit, they played real hard and did a good job protecting the lead in the second half.”
Frank Dell'Apa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.