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Sunday column: Tough call? Tough luck

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

The Sunday column eyes the future of soccer in Pittsburgh, beyond the prism of the Riverhounds and even this year.

The game story off the Hounds’ second home opener at Highmark Stadium, by beat man Matt Grubba, focuses on the bizarre, controversial ending.

Here’s a talk I had with Justin Evans on the field, on that subject and more …

Blogginess from the scene: The fuss at the end was justified. As Matt Dallman told me, still seething, ‘The call was just a joke.’ And the funny part was, he wasn’t even talking about the cross going backward and being called offside. (Impossible.) He was talking about Danny Earls, who had the service, getting pretty much run over in the box for what ‘absolutely should have been a penalty.’ … More shameful by far was watching this ref — an MLS guy, no less, from Montreal — pretty much sprinting off the field. Evans’ comment in the video about this is priceless. … Don’t let the end distract from the real issue, though: The Hounds’ back line just stinks. Don’t mean to sound mean here, but it’s truth. It wasn’t just the goals allowed to a nothing-special Wilmington opponent. It was all kinds of mishandled balls, panicky decisions, lack of creativity … you name it. This won’t be fixed by strategy. Different personnel are needed. … Calling Houston! … Jose Angulo scoring, as he did again, has gotten old, but watching newcomer Collins John complement him in every way up front is enticing. If the back line could ever get the ball up to Dallman and those two, this would be an explosive offense. … Dallman’s vision and touch is just so good. If you make it down to a game this summer, keep an extra eye on him and the decisions he makes with the ball. Lots of fun. … The paid attendance was 3,754, which is more than packing the place, including standing-room. But it’s inexcusable that fans were stuck outside the stadium in traffic as late as 20-25 minutes after kickoff. Either the Hounds or Station Square needs to figure it out before the next game, or they’ll both be losing customers. I saw several cars turning around and leaving in disgust. … Why is Joseph Ngwenya a late sub the past two games? He’s outperforming those he’s replacing. … Wonderful place. Wonderful time. Can’t recommend it enough. Should be a fun summer.

Here’s the Trib’s Riverhounds page.

>> I’ll be part of WPXI-TV’s Subway Final Word tonight at 11:35, another live edition to follow the Penguins-Senators season finale, which I’ll also be covering toward a Monday column.

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Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and, recently, his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the country's top four columnists by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the country's top three columnists by the National Headliners. For 2013, he was named the state's top columnist by the Keystone Press Awards and top columnist in Western Pennsylvania by the Golden Quills.

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