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Loanee Lookout: Week 3

A lot of Crew SC players were involved in Pittsburgh’s weekend match.

Chris Cowger/Pittsburgh Riverhounds

The Pittsburgh Riverhounds brought home three points from South Carolina this past weekend after a stoppage time winner secured a 2-1 victory over the Charleston Battery.

Charleston tallied the initial goal early in the first half, but an always persistent Pittsburgh side kept the match tight. The Battery held off the surging Riverhounds until the 59th minute when Columbus Crew SC loanee Marshall Hollingsworth struck the equalizer. After the goal, Pittsburgh pressed harder until playmaker Kevin Kerr spotted forward Corey Herzog on a cross to head home a very late winner.

Hollingsworth started the match at right midfield along with fellow Crew SC loanees Lalas Abubakar (center-back) and Ben Swanson (central midfield). Swanson, however, came off in the 16th minute due to an ankle injury. Another Columbus midfielder, Abuchi Obinwa, replaced him, earning his first minutes for the Riverhounds. Coach Dave Brandt informed at halftime that Swanson’s injury could force him to miss some time, but how much is unknown.

As for the rest of the Black & Gold players, they all had a strong night. Below is a brief report on each player’s contributions to the match.

Lalas Abubakar

It was apparent the Crew SC defender was tasked with man-marking Atlanta United loanee Romario Williams. Abubakar did his job well. He got into the forward’s head, playing closely and physically; anytime he was serviced the ball, Abubakar terrorized him. Both in the air and on the ground, Williams was rendered mostly useless to the Battery offense.

While Abubakar applied relentless pressure to the Charleston attack, he did procure a litany of whistles. The Columbus defender was issued several warnings (no cards), but they never seemed to deter his aggression.

Apart from showing proficient man-marking, Abubakar also demonstrated no nonsense instincts, at first chance clearing the ball away during threatening Battery attacks.

Here are some moments of direct involvement for Abubakar to check out:

14’ | slide tackle to break up counter attack

18’ | clearance header off dangerous free kick

19-20’ | multiple moments of no-nonsense defending

22’ | one v. one defending

32-33’ | winning the ball in the air

39’ | offensive set piece opportunity – smart header back across the face of goal

Marshall Hollingsworth

The goal scorer. Hollingsworth had a relatively quiet first half. The pace increased during the second 45 minutes where he became more visible in the Riverhounds’ attack.

In the 49th minute Hollingsworth gave a smart feed to Herzog near the penalty kick spot, however the forward’s shot was wide. It was one of the best opportunities of the match until the 59th minute when the Crew SC midfielder integrated himself into another attack.

Kerr found Hollingsworth making a diagonal run toward the top of the D where forward Kay Banjo stood with his back to goal. Hollingsworth received the Kerr pass and one touched ahead to Banjo. Banjo turned with the ball but the overlapping Hollingsworth took over and one touch finished a low driven shot to the opposite corner.

Hollingsworth showed a lot of energy in the match, continuing to look dangerous for the rest of the evening.

Abuchi Obinwa

Although the circumstances for his entry were highly unfortunate, it was nice to finally see what Obinwa can bring to the midfield.

When watching his movement on the field, it sort of looks like he’s tired. He loafs around. His demeanor suggests a calm, but almost lazy player—like a thinner Yaya Toure of Manchester City. With that being said, when he receives the ball, his quality is immediately apparent. He’s a very adept one-touch passer and a solid possession player.

Obinwa demonstrated a moment of vision and long-ball ability late in first half stoppage time finding Kerr streaking down the left hand side.

The only problem with Obinwa seemed to be a lack of involvement. More plays could have gone through him, but there was a slight disconnect between the midfielder and the rest of the team. It was Obinwa’s first appearance, and he certainly didn’t know he’d be coming in so early. For what he did bring to the match, it left a desire to see more from Abuchi.

The Riverhounds (1-1-1) return home this Wednesday (April 12) to take on another undefeated team in Saint Louis FC (2-0-1) in a 7 p.m. kickoff. Massive Report will bring you the latest on the loanees from that match and throughout the season.