Albert Dikwa netted a goal in each half to spark Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC to a 2-1 win on the road over Atlanta United 2 tonight at Fifth Third Bank Stadium in Kennesaw, Ga.
Dikwa put the Hounds (14-7-5) in front just a minute before halftime, and he netted secured his second two-goal game of the season in the 71st minute, just five minutes after Jackson Conway tied the game for Atlanta (4-20-4).
The win moves the Hounds back into a tie for fourth in the Eastern Conference with Birmingham Legion FC. The two teams each have eight games remaining and meet Sept. 14 in the race for a home playoff match.
Atlanta came out controlling more of possession – the hosts had a 65 percent possession number through 15 minutes – but it was the Hounds who created the bulk of the chances, including a 20th-minute downward header by Dikwa that bounced over the crossbar from just 5 yards out.
Robbie Mertz, playing his first game back against his former team, nearly put the Hounds ahead at the half-hour mark, but his shot from inside the box was cleared off the line by Atlanta’s Bryce Washington, a former collegiate player for Pitt.
Dikwa finally put the Hounds’ noses in front in the 44th minute, as Mertz set him up on his right foot with a one-touch pass to link play on the initial pass forward by Kenardo Forbes. It was Mertz’s eighth assist of the year and second since rejoining Pittsburgh.
The Hounds sought a second goal early in the half, and Forbes was denied twice by good saves from Atlanta goalkeeper Vicente Reyes.
But in the 66th minute, the home team go on the board when Ajani Fortune made a good overlapping run down the right side. Fortune lofted a cross to the back post, and Conway rose to head in his team-leading eighth goal for Atlanta.
The Hounds responded quickly with a header of their own, as Dani Rovira worked the left sideline for room to swing in a ball to the opposite post, where Dikwa met the pass with a strong, headed finish. The ninth goal of the season adds to Dikwa’s career-best total, and Rovira also adds to a career-high with five assists this season.
The Hounds used all five of their substitutions after Dikwa’s second goal, and they were able to hold off Atlanta despite six minutes of stoppage time being added.
Kevin Silva made three saves in net for the Hounds, who outshot Atlanta, 13-7, and had a slight edge with 52.7 percent of…